Gifford Briggs, President of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association
The days of pen and paper seem to be coming to a close as this method of communication is being replaced by tablets and smart phones. We no longer have the attention span to wait on a letter to arrive by mail. Instead, we simply send a text or an email to anywhere around the world and have a response within seconds. The speed at which work can be completed and the expectation that has created in our culture has propelled the United States forward as a dominant force in business and commerce.
The oil and gas industry is no different. Beginning in the 1940s, fracking was considered cutting edge, but the industry has been able to advance their techniques. We are now entering previously thought to be dead fields and with the new technology of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking, finding that there are still valuable resources available for extraction. We are able to drill wells at depths considered impossible just decades ago.
Whether it was unnecessary regulatory burdens, low commodity prices, or unforeseen geopolitical issues, the oil and gas sector was forced to remain resilient and resourceful. Many of these advancements were in response to tough times in the industry itself. We now find ourselves looking forward to the coming years, eager for prosperous oil and gas production.
As we look at what’s on the horizon, there are still some dark clouds looming in the form of the coastal lawsuits schedule for 2019. This frivolous litigation continues to be a problem today. Although the names have changed, the issues remain the same. To this day litigation continues to be the biggest issue facing the Louisiana oil and gas industry.
But for every dark cloud, there remains a ray of sunshine. The price of oil is up and more stable than it has been in years. The Trump Administration has held true to many promises made during his campaign regarding American energy. The Obama-era Well Control Rule has been revised in recent weeks by the Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement (BSEE). Instead of using a sledgehammer, BSEE went in with a scalpel to cut through unnecessary regulations that would provide relief from government red tape while continuing to take into account the safety of the men and women in the oil and gas industry.
That is not all! Thanks to the tireless work of our federal delegation, Louisiana will receive approximately $82 million in Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) funding to protect and maintain Louisiana’s working coast. GOMESA was signed into law in 2006 with the sole purpose of enhancing Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas leasing, allowing for revenue sharing. The Act created this oil and gas revenue sharing amongst Alabama, Louisiana Mississippi, and Texas, and these funds are to be used for coastal conservation, restoration, and hurricane protection efforts along our working coastline.
The industry is moving rapidly into the future. Our practices have become significantly more efficient and safer for the hardworking men and women of our industry. We must engage the next generation and show them the importance and vital role the oil and gas sector plays in our communities, in our state, and in our nation.