Industry Expert: Offshore Drilling Criticisms Off Base

Friday, December 10, 2010

Engineering professor and petroleum industry veteran Michael J. Economides expressed concern over comments made by President Obama's national oil spill commission co-chair, William K. Reilly, advocating a complete safety overhaul of America's oil and gas industry.

"It would be absurd for the administration or the oil and gas industry to satisfy demands of a political activist with an ideological bias against traditional fuel and whose only knowledge of how an offshore rig works comes from studying BP's ill-fated Macondo well blowout," Dr. Economides said. "U.S. offshore drilling has an impeccable record which should not be tarnished by one bad act of a sub-standard actor combined with incompetent regulators who weren't enforcing existing rules."

"Policies coming from the White House wrongly assume BP was operating inside industry norms," Dr. Economides said. "The consequences of such erroneous assumptions have been misinformed policies such as the deepwater drilling moratorium and the newly announced cancellation of offshore leasing opportunities -- projects which would add billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to our economy."

As of September 2010, the administration's drilling ban alone had eliminated 20,000 jobs in the Gulf region. As the National Academy of Engineering's interim report on the Gulf oil spill demonstrates, the mis-steps leading up to the April 20th catastrophe rest with a single bad actor. Still, regulators are implementing measures against all drilling firms and have punished countless American workers and their families as a result.

Under any other Administration it would be impossible to envision a more striking conflict of interest: Prior to serving on the commission, William K. Reilly acted as president of the environmental lobby World Wildlife Fund, and was an Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; both organizations fundamentally are opposed to offshore drilling.

Michael J. Economides, Energy Tribune Editor-in-Chief, counts among America's leading energy analysts. Back in 1999, Economides warned that oil prices, then at $11 a barrel, were about to surge. Within a year or so, the price reached over $30.
 

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