THE HOUSTON LAWYER
Zack A. Clement and Robert Andrew Black
October 15, 2010 view as PDF
In the last six months, the offshore drilling industry in the Gulf of Mexico has been affected by a national regulatory policy that has vacillated between:
- initially favoring new drilling in the eastern Gulf;
- ordering a moratorium on all deep water drilling based on safety concerns in response to the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig (the “Original Moratorium”);
- imposing a second moratorium based on a stronger statement of environmental concern shortly after a court found that the Original Moratorium was likely “arbitrary and capricious” (the “Second Moratorium,” collectively the “Moratoria”); and
- beginning the development of new offshore drilling regulations to be enforced by the newly created Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (“BOEMRE”).
While to date only a few drilling rigs have been re-deployed away from the Gulf to other international areas of activity, there is concern that the Moratoria and upcoming regulatory changes could cause drilling companies to decide to move more rigs out of the Gulf.
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Robert Andrew Black