NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Drilling Is Stalled Even After Ban Is Lifted

January 6, 2011

More than two months after the Obama administration lifted its ban on drilling in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico, oil companies are still waiting for approval to drill the first new oil well there.  Experts now expect the wait to continue until the second half of 2011 and perhaps into 2012, says the Wall Street Journal.

The impact of the delays goes beyond the oil industry.  The Gulf Coast's economy has been hit hard by the slowdown in drilling activity, especially because the oil spill also hurt the region's fishing and tourism industries. 

  • The Obama administration in September estimated that 8,000 to 12,000 workers could lose their jobs temporarily because of the moratorium; some independent estimates have been much higher.
  • The Energy Information Administration (EIA), last month predicted that domestic offshore oil production will fall 13 percent this year from 2010 due to the moratorium and the slow return to drilling.
  • A year ago, the EIA predicted offshore production would rise 6 percent in 2011.
  • The difference: a loss of about 220,000 barrels of oil a day.

Source: Ben Casselman and Daniel Gilbert, "Drilling Is Stalled Even After Ban Is Lifted," Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2011.

For text:


Browse more articles on Environment Issues