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Olson Applauds Fifth Circuit Ruling on Offshore Drilling Moratorium

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) today issued the following statement on the Fifth Circuit Court ruling in opposition to the Obama Administration offshore deep water drilling moratorium:

“It is beyond disappointing that this Administration is unwilling to work to reach a common sense solution that both ensures safety and allows thousands of American workers to keep their jobs.  I have seen firsthand the safety procedures involved in operating a rig and I am confident that with the additional inspections and industry best practices we can examine rigs on a case by case basis and allow operations to continue.  A blanket moratorium has hurt our economy and will impact our energy supply.  I urge the Administration to take this latest ruling to heart and forgo any additional attempts to decimate the deep water offshore drilling industry.

“This is the second court ruling in support of lifting the arbitrary and unnecessary moratorium on deep water offshore drilling.  As Judge Jerry Smith rightly pointed out, ‘We give deference, as you should, to what that court has done,’ in reference to Judge Martin Feldman’s earlier ruling on the moratorium.  This ruling provides an important opportunity for the Administration to work with the oil and gas industry to reach a common sense solution that would allow exploration to proceed in the safest possible manner.

“Just today, we received word that the first oil rig is departing the Gulf of Mexico and heading to Egypt for work.   We cannot afford to lose these jobs or the energy they provide.  President Obama should allow this moratorium to remain lifted and let Americans get back to work.”

From the Diamond Offshore press release announcing the move from the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Egypt: Diamond Offshore President and CEO, Larry Dickerson, noted, "With new contracting severely restricted in the GOM as a result of the uncertainties surrounding the offshore drilling moratorium, we are actively seeking international opportunities to keep our rigs fully employed. This new contract for the Endeavor will help us preserve backlog, and will allow the previous operator of the rig to satisfy its contractual obligations which extended until June 30, 2011. We greatly regret the loss of U.S. jobs that will result from this rig relocation."

The new contract, combined with a $31 million early termination fee paid by the previous operator of the rig, is expected to generate combined maximum total revenue of approximately $100 million.

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Media Contact: Melissa Kelly, 202-225-5951