New offshore committee promotes the power of the Gulf

05 05, 2014 by BIC Magazine, Lori Leblanc

The oil and gas industry demonstrated its confidence in the power of American energy during the federal government’s recent Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale in New Orleans. In fact, the Department of the Interior garnered more than $850 million in high bids for about 1.7 million acres in the Gulf, signaling the continued strong business interest in offshore energy production.

It’s this confidence in the valuable resources of America’s Gulf that continues to drive our national and state economy, funds the U.S. government, employs hundreds of thousands of men and women across our country, and keeps the lights on from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine. Here in Louisiana, we proudly serve as the gateway to the Gulf, the front door to the boundless energy potential miles off our coast and thousands of feet under the water’s surface. We proudly do a job other states refuse to do — a job that literally fuels America.

No doubt, the oil companies that participated in this spring’s lease sale recognize the tremendous opportunities for oil and gas production in our Central Gulf, particularly in the challenging deepwater. In fact, there have been nine new discoveries of oil formations in the Central Gulf since June 2012. The economic benefits are astounding as well.

The Gulf of Mexico is a significant source of domestic energy, providing 30 percent of our domestic oil supply and 10 percent of our gas. Federal revenue from offshore energy production from 2003 to 2012 totaled more than $47 billion.

Gulf energy production creates jobs in every state, with up to an estimated 430,000 jobs nationwide linked to Gulf of Mexico energy activity, and tens of thousands of jobs in Louisiana alone. Further, spending by the Gulf of Mexico energy industry on equipment and manpower to get the oil pumping translates to big business for support companies and their workers at coastal ports like Port Fourchon and coastal communities like Houma and Morgan City, helping businesses and families thrive right here at home.

Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA) and its members are committed to working with federal leaders to support this rebirth in Gulf energy production. To this end, I am honored to have been named director of the new LMOGA Offshore Committee, established earlier this year to promote Gulf energy production and advocate for industry’s continued responsible development of our valuable domestic energy resources.

As LMOGA Chairman Jim Hutchison explained at the LMOGA Annual Meeting in February, the Gulf is America’s energy workhorse. To continue this great success story, it’s imperative Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas industry increases outreach efforts with federal leaders and has a seat at the table when key policy decisions are made.

The LMOGA Offshore Committee will focus on policy, partnership, public input and positive communication as it works to support and promote oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. Activities will include developing and maintaining relationships with federal policymakers and Congressional members; monitoring and commenting on federal rules that impact Gulf development; collaborating with members, other trade associations and other Gulf Coast states on energy policy initiatives; and communicating the significance of Gulf energy production to our nation’s economy and energy supply.

Targeted policy issues include industry safety and technology, national ocean policy, impacts of new mitigation requirements, outer continental shelf lease sales, revenue sharing and platform decommissioning relative to the rigs to reef program. The committee will also maintain LMOGA’s active engagement in Louisiana’s coastal restoration and protection efforts, and will also develop local grassroots support of the industry and its workers through participation in community organizations and relationships with community leaders.

We have a tremendous natural resource called the Gulf of Mexico in our backyard and thousands of men and women in our great state of Louisiana who go to work each day to fuel America. I am eager to work with members of the LMOGA Offshore Committee to tell that story and keep America working in the Gulf.