NOIA President Randall Luthi issued the following statement in response to the Department of the Interior’s next steps in offshore energy oversight and management:
“The industry has been asking for clarity and certainty. Today’s announcement may provide a bit more clarity, but seems to only add to the uncertainty. We now know the structures and responsibilities of the new offshore energy management and enforcement agencies, but we still seek more certainty, particularly when it comes to permitting of deepwater work.
“It seems that offshore operators will now need to communicate with one agency (BSSE) to obtain permits, but those permits will be reliant upon swift completion of environmental review by another agency (BOEM), thus creating the possibility for further bureaucratic delay. The real test is whether or not a permit for new deepwater drilling is issued in the very near future.
“Companies continue to do everything in their power to comply with new operational, safety and environmental requirements coming out of the Department, yet thousands of offshore workers are still anxiously waiting to get back on the job producing home-grown offshore energy in the Gulf. As such, industry is eager to work with these new agencies to ensure timely approval of needed permits so they can get back to work. Less work offshore means less domestic production, less economic activity, less revenue to our government, and more reliance on foreign oil.”