Congressman Green Sees Progress On Gulf Offshore Energy Tour

Two years after the nation's worst oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, drilling activity has not yet caught up with activity prior to the disaster. But one Houston lawmaker says he's encouraged with the progress toward restoring the Gulf economy.

The explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010 resulted in nearly 5 million barrels of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

Houston Congressman Gene Green serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee. For the second year, he toured a deepwater rig in the gulf, this one belonging to Shell Oil. The rig produces about a hundred thousand barrels a day. He says that visit served two purposes, reviewing safety and production.

“After the tragedy at Macondo, after the eleven people who died, but we needed to look at our regulations and the enforcement, and we’re still not back to where I would like us to be. We also have some things that the industry has to do, more inspections, more oversight. We want the product out of the Gulf, but we also want it done very safely.”

He found that the accident, while unfortunate, highlighted the fact that opportunities exist for the industry to improve its efforts even more.

“I think over a period of time, the companies get used to the new regulations, more controls over the blowout preventers. But we’re getting back to work and of course in Houston, we’re the energy capital of the world and I have five refineries in our congressional district. So I like that product coming to shore, so we can produce the products we need for our country.”

Production in the Gulf of Mexico provides about 30 percent of the country’s domestic crude oil supply. Green adds Houston plays a big part in that effort.

“We just need to give them the rules, and they, like a lot of our other companies, whether it be Exxon or Chevron, or even our smaller independents, will obey the rules because our country needs that oil. We would rather have it from our own shores than from somewhere else.”
While there is still a lot of room for improvement, Green says activity in the Gulf of Mexico is heading in the right direction.