US Gulf drilling ban may lead to permanent exit of rigs – chem group

10 June 2010 22:35  [Source: ICIS news]

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (ICIS news)--The US government ban on new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico could see some of the idled rigs being sent to other countries, never to return, an American Chemistry Council (ACC) official said on Thursday.

"If those rigs leave, they won't be coming back," said Rudy Underwood, the ACC's government lobbyist on state affairs, adding that the rigs would be kept busy elsewhere.

The ban had idled 33 rigs and put around 2,000 people out of work, Underwood told the Southeast Chemical Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The ban unfairly halted work in the relative safety of shallow waters, Underwood said, compared with the mile-deep water that was the site of the oil spill that well operator BP has been desperately trying to stem since 20 April.

On 27 May, President Barack Obama extended the drilling ban for six months while a presidential commission continued its investigation into the causes of the spill.

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By: Stephen Burns
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