Louisianans react to Biden renewing onshore oil and gas drilling
Industry insiders say increased deep-water activity would help the state most
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - President Biden is resuming the sale of leases for oil and drilling on federal land but people in Louisiana say what would help the state would be more offshore drilling.
Archie Chaisson is the President of Lafourche Parish.
“On behalf of the American energy worker, I think it’s a good thing, right? We’re going to put domestic production back to work,” said Chaisson.
FOX 8 asked Chaisson about how reliant his parish is on the oil and gas industry.
“We’ve seen a slight job, but I will still tell you that as of today about 30% of the parish’s budget is made up of offshore oil and gas vessels, the things that supply everything from water and mud and widgets and people to the offshore oil and gas industry, so we are extremely tied,” said Chaisson.
The move by Biden is designed to help drive down high gasoline prices.
Mike Moncla is president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.
“I think it’s a positive step for the United States, it just doesn’t really help Louisiana much,” said Moncla.
Professor Eric Smith is with Tulane’s Energy Institute.
“At the end of the day, it wasn’t particularly profitable to drill on federal land anyway because of all of the paperwork and the regulations,” said Smith.
Biden’s decision also includes a hike in royalties that oil companies pay.
“It increased the federal royalties by 50%, so you know, oil companies right off the bat are going, you know, have to, you know, anytime something like that happens it goes to, the end-user ends up paying, so punishing oil and gas for higher royalties, it hurts people at the pump,” said Moncla.
Smith is also critical of Biden’s energy policies.
“They have a very inconsistent message, they’re saying they want more drilling, they want to see more production which would lower the prices. All that’s true, the problem is, if the economics weren’t so successful with the earlier plan they’re not going to be successful when you raise the royalty rate 50%,” said Smith.
The oil and gas industry had taken a hit before Biden took office and now oil prices are higher.
“You know commodity prices are kind of a fix-all in our industry, so you know activity levels have picked up in the Haynesville shale, there are a lot of rigs up there, south Louisiana has picked up a little bit, you know, we don’t have that shale play that has people going crazy down here. But we are more active than we were on the workover rig side, which is fixing old wells,” said Moncla.
However, they say what will really help Louisiana’s oil and gas industry is more deep-water activity.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction but he came short of including Louisiana in that. So, if you read what he did he’s going to continue the lease on federal lands that are on land, not the Gulf of Mexico, so in Louisiana, we really don’t have, you know, federal lands per se like they do out in West Texas and New Mexico,” said Moncla.
“Without a new plan there can be no lease sales by law in the gulf, so we desperately need him to get a five-year plan together for the Department of Interior and it supposedly is going to take a year, a year, and a half to do so to get this plan ready and they haven’t even started,” said Moncla.
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