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The Costs of the Gulf Drilling Permit Backlog

In KUHF Business News, research firms IHS CERA and IHS Global Insight say that fully restoring oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico would add $44 billion a year to the US economy.  But as the two companies say in a new report, that day may still be a long way off.


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More than nine months after the Obama administration lifted its moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government’s issuing of new permits remains slow. James Burkhard is IHS CERA’s managing director for global oil.

“At the current lack of alignment between the regulatory process and the industry’s capacity to invest, the US could lose out on 230,000 American jobs and 400,000 barrels per day of additional oil production in the Gulf of Mexico.”

A shortage of offshore oil and gas inspectors at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement is at least partly responsible for the permitting backlog. The bureau recently switched to multi-person inspection teams for oil and gas rigs. It’s also on a nationwide search to recruit petroleum engineers — both newly minted graduates and recent retirees — to fill its ranks.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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