On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation on the future of deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7FM.
The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 resulted in 11 deaths and the largest offshore oil spill in United States history, spurring a national discussion about the need for stricter safety standards and restrictions in the industry.
Although investigations and hearings related to the cause of the explosion are still being held, American Petroleum Institute executive vice president Marty Durbin says it’s time to resume drilling activity in the Gulf, with an increased emphasis on safe operations.
Durbin, who in his position with the API helps to advocate for the oil and natural gas industry as well as develop operating standards and policy for petroleum and petrochemical equipment, visited Bauer Business Focus recently to give his take on the current state of drilling in the Gulf.
The moratorium on offshore drilling issued after the Deepwater explosion has been lifted, but permits for new drilling in both shallow and deepwater are not being issued at the pace they once were, Durbin added.
“We understand the need to restore confidence in policymakers and the public, to find a way to put some certainty into the process so we can get the industry back to work, creating jobs and providing the energy we all need,” he said.
Further delays in reopening deepwater drilling mean that companies are making tough economic decisions, Durbin said. With uncertainty in the Gulf of Mexico, companies are moving rigs to other locations — South America, off the coast of Africa and Europe — and entering into long-term contracts in those areas.
“The idea that when we have our act together in the Gulf from a regulatory standpoint, that they’re going to pick up and come back here, you can’t count on that,” Durbin said. “The sooner we can put some certainty back in the regulatory process, the better.”
Durbin has served as the executive vice president of government affairs for the American Petroleum Institute in Washington, D.C., since 2009. He previously directed federal legislative advocacy and coordinated direct lobbying, coalition building and political programs for the American Chemistry Council. Durbin has also been a legislative assistant for Democratic members in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, focusing on environment and energy-related issues.
Click here for the full interview.