Rigs Could Relocate Over Moratorium
The oil spill impact on Louisiana's seafood industry is bad enough, but the oozing crude is about to cause an even bigger economic disaster.
Countless oil-related jobs in the area could also be a thing of the past, in light of the President's 6 month moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf.
Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet says he's already heard talk that some of the Gulf's 33 rigs could relocate to other parts of the world.
"Anywhere from 13 - 18 rigs having indicated to us that they'll be moving in the very near future if something is not done" says Claudet.
President Barack Obama contends the halt is a must in order to investigate how to better safe guard the industry and he believes oil companies would likely return if they did leave.
Rob Guidry, the President of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce told Eyewitness News Monday the President and Congress don't understand what's at stake if this moratorium isn't lifted.
"We know it was the slick that has destroyed our fishing industry and we know it was the slick that is destroying our tourist industry, but we think it is Washington that is killing our oil and gas industry with this moratorium, and we are hoping to convince those in power into make that stop" said Guidry.
Chamber representatives are in Washington right pushing for the establishment of an independent agency that would require a federal inspector be on board every deep water rig in the Gulf 24 hour a day seven days a week.
The chamber feels this proactive approach may be Acadiana's best chance of having the moratorium lifted before it's too late to save our local and maybe even national economy.
Moratorium Could Mean Recession
According to figures from the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association the entire state could end up in recession if the Obama Administration and its six month moratorium on deep water drilling in the Gulf isn't lifted.
Here is a look at some of the numbers.
There are currently 17 oil companies operating 33 deep water rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Each of these rigs provides a paycheck for anywhere from 800 to 1400 jobs.
The average pay for someone working on one of those rigs is nearly $2000 a month. That means no paycheck for anywhere from 26,000 to 46,000 oil rig workers, and total lost wages of per month of five to ten million dollars. That figure is for just one platform.
Lost wages for all 33 platforms will cost anywhere from 165 to 330 million dollars a month. But that sadly is just the tip of the ice berg.
There are hundreds of oil field service companies with thousands of employees that provide a variety of services to the offshore industry that will also be losing money and may be forced to lay off employees.
Everything from catering services and technical support companies who help maintain computer equipment to the helicopters the pipe companies and the crew boats that deliver supplies.
When combined with those rig workers we're talking about hundreds of companies losing revenues and tens of thousands of people potentially losing a paycheck and maybe their jobs.
Business Challenge Drilling Moratorium
Imagine having to shut down your business for six months for some oil companies. That's the case after President Barack Obama put a moratorium on deep water drilling.
In Lafayette, some local business owners and city officials aren't happy with the halt, and are trying to get that moratorium cut in half.
Not long after the Deepwater Horizon sank to the bottom of the Gulf, President Barack Obama put a six month halt on deepwater drilling.
But according to members of the Acadiana Regional Alliance, his reaction to the catastrophe may not have been properly planned out, and it has a lot of people concerned.
Randy McCollum: The people are scared. They're worried. They're worried about their future."
Don Briggs, the president of the Louisiana oil and Gas Association, says the moratorium shut down more than 30 rigs in the Gulf, which provide work for a lot of people.
"Those rigs support about 15,000 jobs or more, and potentially it could last for a very long time" says Briggs.
For those thousands of employees, their biggest fear right now is that the companies may pack up and leave if they can't drill in the Gulf for half a year.
"The average contract in the Gulf of Mexico is $450,000 a day, so the company has to pay that, and if they have to be shut down for 6 months, they're move that rig somewhere else. They might not ever come back" says Brigs.
Members of the alliance are asking that President Obama and state lawmakers cut down the moratorium to either two or three months, or all together, because if not, this halt could cause a massive recession statewide.