The Department of Interior (DOI) has been slow in issuing deepwater drilling permits for exploration and development in the Gulf of Mexico.  Since the moratorium on offshore drilling was lifted in November 2010, companies, who can afford to, have kept their lease and rigs “warm” and continue to do so. 

The Gulf of Mexico remains to be a great source for development and exploration of domestic energy.  It is also provides a tremendous opportunity for job creation and government revenue.  A study by the American Petroleum Institute and the National Ocean Industries Association estimates that by streamlining the permitting process 190,000 jobs can be created by 2013 and the capital expenditures could increase by 140%, reaching $15.7 billion.  Furthermore, spending by offshore oil and gas industry would increase by 70%, reaching $25.7 billion of investments, with total contributions to the nation’s GDP being nearly $45 billion.  

Mahta Mahdavi is Director of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers

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