OSV operators seek end to moratorium
The BP Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico has been capped, but the uncertainty continues for offshore service operators who rely on the offshore oil and gas industry.
With less oil in the water, fewer boats are now needed to contain and skim the oil. This will idle many offshore service vessels that had been chartered for cleanup operations.
Jimmy Skiles, executive vice president of Morgan City, La.-based Laborde Marine LLC, told USA Today that the spill has kept eight of Laborde’s OSVs busy during cleanup operations, but he knows the end is near.
“Everyone feels like the hammer is going to fall. We just don’t know when,” he said.
The Obama administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling is scheduled to remain in place until the end of November, but before the moratorium can be lifted, there are those who want to find out what caused the spill in the first place, regardless of how long it takes to get the answers.
That is unthinkable to OSV operators.
“A moratorium that is unended could put us out of business,” Ken Wells, then president of the Offshore Marine Service Association , said in July. (Wells resigned his position in early August.)
While OSV executives worry about staying in business, Congress has been playing politics. On July 30, the U.S. House voted to end the administration’s moratorium for oil companies that meet new federal safety requirements. The proposal came in the form of an amendment to an energy bill that many Republican senators said they refused to vote for because it contains other provisions they and some of their constituents oppose. Consequently, the Senate failed to pass the bill, the moratorium remained in place, and Congress went into recess.