Today's Trends: Poll Finds Drilling Moratorium 'Unnecessary'

A recent national poll by Bloomberg revealed that 73 percent of Americans opposed the deepwater drilling moratorium put in place by the Obama Administration, saying it was unnecessary and that the U.S. Gulf oil spill is a "freak accident."

While 8 in 10 respondents surveyed in the July 9-12 poll said BP should pay for all damages caused by the oil spill, eight in 10 respondents questioned said BP shouldn't be assessed penalties beyond payment for damages, such as being banned from future drilling in the U.S.

Bloomberg reported that this opinion was strong regardless of political views, with 85 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of independents and 65 percent of Democrats surveyed opposing the ban.

Making BP pay for the economic damages from the spill, even at the risk of bankruptcy, is backed by 61 percent of respondents who said they were Democrats, and 54 percent of both Republicans and independents.

Six in 10 questioned said BP, not the federal government, should reimburse wages lost by oil workers laid off because of the moratorium, with 56 percent saying even the possibility of bankruptcy shouldn't allow the company to escape paying.

Forty-four percent of respondents hold BP responsible for the spill, while 19 percent blamed lax federal regulations and oversight. One in five say no one is to blame.

The Bloomberg poll was based on interviews with 1,004 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

The fact so many people say it was a freak accident is especially telling," said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based company that conducted the telephone survey. "People say BP must pay, but there's no sense of impending doom at the hands of the entire industry."

The length of the spill, now in its 84th day, may explain why there's not a broader sense of outrage, she said.

"Perhaps because it's gone on so long there's a sense that it is what it is," Selzer said. "BP is accountable for what they are accountable for, but any sense of vindication you might look to find is absent."

Harahan, La.-based Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) said in response to the poll, "The moratorium to halt drilling will cut the legs out from under a Gulf Coast economy that is already reeling from the initial spill. It will cause a ripple effect from the offshore workboat operators who supply oil rig equipment all the way down to the grocery stores who supply food for the mariners.

"The moratorium is short-sighted and will cripple an already hard-hit maritime industry operating in the Gulf Coast region."


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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
Charley Kendrick | Jul. 24, 2010
I have worked in the oil & gas industry for over 34 years. Accidents happen in every industry. The oil & gas industry have some of the toughest regulations regarding safety & environmental concerns. The majority of companies go far beyond the government regulations. Accidents happen in every industry & private sector. I have no problem investigating & improving our procedures. This happens constantly. One part of the equation that is usually overlooked is that the inspectors (government) are usually poorly trained in the items they are inspecting & enforcing. In most industries you need to start with the basics & work up until you understand what you are doing. We need to send inspectors to the numerous schools we are required to take to work in our industry. BP should be held liable. They set themselves up for failure, but the majority of Oil/Gas companies do things right & are continually improving procedures. If we shut down offshore drilling, we should also shutdown all airlines when a plane goes down, all factories when they have a spill that evacuates a town or the military when they have friendly fire kills, accidents happen & will continue to happen until we quit doing anything.

Charles Freeman | Jul. 21, 2010
The moratorium is just another case of political overreaction to give the appearance that the Obama administration is doing "something" during a crisis. Just hold BP economically responsible for their bad judgment or maybe overconfidence in their well control procedures. No need to punish the remainder of the industry and the whole Gulf Coast. I bet they've learned a lesson, along with the rest of the industry. DON'T BECOME OVERCONFIDENT and COMPLACENT!!! It'll cost you !!

Dean Wiseman | Jul. 19, 2010
Point: Federal gov’t oversight and preparedness for an event like the oil spill from a relatively deep well was grossly inadequate and quite possibly criminal. Reason: The unwillingness to suspend the Jones Act by current FED administration is the root cause for the severity of the impact of oil coming ashore in GOM. Explanation: The dispersant “Corexit?” allowed the surface tension of oil to decrease. Naturally occurring hydrocarbon consuming bacteria is certain to make a positive impact upon the mitigation of oil spill. The sheen was essentially 2 dimensional …thus allowing bacteria access to oil in short term. The opportunity to skim oil and apply bacteria to spill was lost due to bureaucratic bumbling efforts to control the political essence of this spill. The current administration representing the citizens of the USA clouded the core issues with contemptuous attitude toward the responsible party… BP. The Fed turned away assistance sorely needed apparently over irrelevant and costly legal issues that only clouded the perception of urgent response to a crisis in situ. Conclusion: The precedent for the response to the spill was well documented and accepted practice from prior event which lasted 10 months more or less and coated half of Texas shoreline apparently. The response to the plight of the citizens depending upon the offshore oil field development business…in concert with the environmentally sensitive “businesses”… was grossly negligent and inadequate as indicated by outcome of the actions observed by anyone other than FED representatives. Time is of the essence. Placing a moratorium upon business within the GOM is akin to a criminal act given the overall economic conditions plaguing our nation.

carl cagle | Jul. 19, 2010
After reading some of the responses, it is very clear that some have no idea what goes on in a drilling operation. The operating company is the word of God and if it isn't done it becomes "my way or the highway." If you don't believe it just just try to tell your own boss you are going to "do it my way and I don't care what you say", then see how long you last at that job. The boss may not always be right, but he is always the boss.

Jim McClaugherty | Jul. 19, 2010
The effects are far reaching and the impact of the moratorium will impact drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico for many years. This will cause further price increases for petroleum products across the USA and will cause an increase that we will be forced to pay in order to become reliant on foreign imports. The Drilling Contractors are now forced to find work elsewhere and the high cost of rig moves (averaging about $1 million per relocation) will interfere in bringing rigs back to the GOM even when the moratorium is lifted. Increased regulations and Government mandated cost increases will further reduce incentives for future deepwater drilling in the GOM and most of the Oil and Gas Companies will shift their focus to other countries to drill and produce fossil fuels.

Arnold Baron | Jul. 19, 2010
Deepwater drilling moratorium put in place by the Obama Administration, is totally ludicrous and will impact our economy far more than the oil spill. Nature always recovers, view Alaska Oil Spill and results today.

John G Davies | Jul. 19, 2010
And now the US Government is taxing BP on oil or gas wasted when US Govt. Departments and US companies are equally culpable!!!!!!! Interiors chief oil and gas regulatory official has informed BP that it must report all oil and gas-related activities at the damaged Macondo well and pay royalties on all oil and gas captured from the leaking well. The company also will be liable for royalties on lost or wasted oil and gas if it is determined that negligence or regulatory violations caused or contributed to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent leak. Michael R. Bromwich, director of Interiors Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM), officially notified BP of its reporting responsibility and royalty liability in a July 15th letter to Guy Otwell, of BP America Inc.s Tax Department, noting that the companys failure to fulfill these obligations could be considered a knowing and willful violation of the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act. Bromwich’s letter also noted that the Interior Department reserves "any and all rights and remedies available to the United States arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill." "BP is required to report immediately to BOEM all oil and gas-related activities associated with the Macondo well using Form MMS-4054," Bromwich stated in his letter. Furthermore, under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the lease between the United States and BP, the company is required to pay royalties immediately for all oil and gas captured from the Macondo well. Bromwich also notified BP about its potential liability for royalties on lost or wasted oil and gas from the well, pointing to the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act and BPs lease, which provide that "[a]ny lessee is liable for royalty payments on oil or gas lost or wasted from a lease site when such loss or waste is due to negligence on the part of the operator of the lease, or due to the failure to comply with any rule or regulation, order or citation issued under this Act or any mineral leasing law."

John G Davies | Jul. 19, 2010
BP are not the only culpable party in this disaster and should not be left to carry the can for the very poor safety regime of the US Drilling Industry. As well as BP there is Transocean, MMS, US Coastguard and inevitably the US Government who allowed financial gain to govern the safety standards of the US Oil & Gas Industry. They should all be contributing to the clean up. How much revenue has the US Government gained from its Cavalier exploitation of the Gulf of Mexico. It is very easy for Obama to condemn BP and make them the scapegoat just to satisfy his political whim. In all other areas of the world BP has a very strict and enviable safey regime. It is BP Americas and the US Government and Organisations with its "good buddy" attitude that has led to this catastrophe. This applies both onshore and offshore. As was the Piper Alpha, this was an accident waiting to happen and it is a miracle it had not happened sooner. It took Piper Alpha to make the UK Government realize that the Department of Energy, responsible for the Tax Revenues, was not the department best tasked to ensure Safety in the Oil & Gas Industry. They then handed the task to the Health & Safety Executive with sufficient power to, if necessary, shut down any offshore operation regardless of financial cost. The UK Health and Safety Executive department personnel responsible for the Oil & Gas sector are drawn from industry experienced personnel who carry out unannounced visits to offshore installations. It is time the US created a similar organization with "Teeth" which will enable it to carry out visits to offshore facilities by personnel qualified to inspect the installation and issue mandatory notices of non compliance which have to be resolved within a time frame pertinent to the seriousness of the the non compliance or if serious enough, Shut Down the Operation". This would then focus the attention of the drilling contractors and platform operators on ensuring that adequate maintenance is carried out. The Operators would then carry out more stringent pre contract surveys to ensure the standards of compliance of the rig were to a more stringent Government Standard laid down by the new Reglulatory Authority. The operation of onshore rigs should also be scrutinized as the standards here are extremely low. Whilst a blowout on a landrig goes mainly unannounced and not looked upon as an environmental issue, it should be. Uncontrolled oil spills from land rig blowouts seep into the ground and end up polluting the water table and many land rigs also operate very close to human habitation. Of course non of the foregoing was made public to the public sample that Bloomberg sampled. Had it been the results would likely be radically different. What do I know about it. I have worked on every type rig from land rigs to drillships and in all corners of the world and I am voicing the opinions of many of my colleagues who have 35 years of world wide experience in the Oil & Gas Industry

Rene Ritter | Jul. 19, 2010
Deep water and ultra deep water drilling has been around for a long time, I have been involved in the ultra deep water drilling industry since 1979, BP was doing short cuts to the point that it bit them in the A...... this doesn't mean to shut down an entire industry will prevent this from happening again! Look at Brazil, this country is the leader in deep water and ultra deepwater drilling, and although they have had their ups and downs, they made a success out of it and are now independent from oil imports! BP should and will be held accountable, even if it will break them, this would be a reminder to all other operators that planning and execution without taking short cuts is the way to go, imagine that one oil well could break a company like BP?

Jeff | Jul. 18, 2010
Wow i can see the anti-British rhetoric gaining some momentum in recent days. One question i have is why there has been so little mention of Transocean and Camerons involvement in this disaster? I am not for one minute claiming that BP is faultless but surely Transocean and even Cameron should shoulder some of the responsibility...........does anyone agree?

Bobby D. | Jul. 18, 2010
This is a "knee jerk" reaction with the moratorium. Just because an airliner crashes, short of another September 11th, you don't shut the whole airline industry down. The moratorium will completely cripple the Gulfsouth and put millions on the welfare roles.

Elijah | Jul. 18, 2010
I work for a drilling company, for now, that is in the process of moving most of their rigs out of the gulf. They have already laid a bunch of people off and will be laying more off soon as a third rig in the last few weeks leaves the gulf. Most are deepwater rigs which means lots of jobs lost. They are giving hands the numbers to other companies for employment which tells me they have no plans on returning to the gulf any time soon. The spill along with the cost of hurricane insurance has pushed them to the leaving point. Where will it end?

GE | Jul. 17, 2010
This moratorium is not necessary. The hearings and facts can be gathered while work in the GOM continued with additional inspection of all components.

Nigel | Jul. 17, 2010
At the end of the day regardless of what nationality the oil company is, the U.S authorities allowed the drilling and abandonment to continue with FULL knowledge that the BOP was not tested in accordance with the already stringent drilling controls. The Obama administration allowed this to accident and it was a tragic accident, to happen on its watch and now it wriggles and squirms to deflect attention away from this fact deflecting attention onto BP. Remember also that BP is just the lead operator in a consortium with other U.S oil companies that was drilling this field for the benefit of the U.S demand for oil and to reduce its reliance on foreign oil.

Raimondo Pugliese | Jul. 17, 2010
I agree, it was an accident that for sure will never happen more.

Ted Lemp | Jul. 17, 2010
I am a firm believer that BP should be liable for the gulf fishing and all of the other services which lost wages because of the oil spill. Also that there not be any oil and gas price hike because of cost of repair work.

tommy boyle | Jul. 17, 2010
Don't see any mention of who is really to blame for this catastrophe, ie, Transocean Drilling Co, it was their equipment which failed so badly, even given the alleged fact that the well design was flawed. Transoceans ppl had the ultimate responsibility for the well security, they had the authority to stop the ongoing work and secure the well and seemingly had also, plenty of opportunity to do this, if the facts which so far have come to light, are indeed true. I would liken it to hiring a cab to get to the airport "quickly", for an extra payment, if the cab driver has a wreck in the process of getting you there "quickly", its his cab, hes in control, his responsibility if there is a wreck. Maybe an oversimplified analogy, but, the basis of hiring any company or their equipment, be it a drilling rig or a cab holds true.

Ernie Arrenegado | Jul. 17, 2010

W.R. | Jul. 16, 2010
The moratorium is nothing but a political game for someone to save-face. I have worked with offshore drilling for many years and in many parts of the world. The rules and regulations are in place, the problem, personnel in charge ignore these rule and the end result, sometimes is the Deep water Horizon. No need to change the rules. People that don't follow the rules, send them to JAIL. Think about it, 11 persons gone. Who will pay for this crime??????

Worried about our JOBS!! | Jul. 16, 2010
Although this was a tragic ordeal, those of us that are contracted to and relying on B.P. here in Alaska,(approx. 20,000 + overall) are worried about our jobs and our families futures. This spill is affecting our jobs all the way up here. We keep forcing B.P. to fold, and all of us here will also be in the unemployment lines. And what will that prove? As Don H. stated, B.P. will just pull up stakes and go to a different country to drill with less restrictions. Once again more jobs lost to stupid, overpowered, to much time on their hands, greedy American citizens. Stop complaining, and get off your bottoms and help fix the problem, instead of standing around with your hand out, complaining, and pointing fingers. Because if not, your actions are going to hurt your fellow Americans more, than doing them any good.

Charles W. Stewart | Jul. 16, 2010
I have worked offshore for 30 years and the same company for 26 years. I have two sons that work for the same company I do. People are raising hell over this and wondering why its not been taking care of. Its because it has never happened. I think BP done the best they could to shut the well off. I hate it happened. I truly do...but it happened for the first time in the Gulf of Mexico. But you know all the fuss is over the oil. You only heard about the 11 hands that died for about 2 days or 3 days. Now that's sad!!!!! The Obama administration did not shutdown Toyota when people were having wrecks due to faulty equipment. The government never thought about shutting down trains when they derailed and kill people or toxic chemicals are spilled. Planes are never grounded due to crashes. It is very obvious Obama is against offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico anyway. He keeps this up and there maybe a handful of rigs in the Gulf of Mexico this time next year. Then lets look at his jobless rate then. It is not just going to affect the drilling companies. It will affect truck drivers, dock workers, chemical plants and so on. Our government better wake up!!!!

obaidur rahman | Jul. 16, 2010
To impose moratorium is not a solution of the problem. It is just big accident and we all should accept the situation. Let us think in forward direction and put our efforts towards safety and documentation of each operation and equipments also.

Herman | Jul. 16, 2010
The drilling moratorium is not necessary,I mean why punish everyone for B.P.s short falls! I see this as new act of Terrorism by our own government.The economy is messed up already,but rather than fix it lets damage it more with more jobs lost and more people in the unemployment lines.As we know The coastal states cant handle this kind of pressure;if you think well had a blowout wait until the impacts the country the you will see real"BLOWOUT".

Buddy Weaver | Jul. 16, 2010

Don h | Jul. 16, 2010
We should be cautious. Accidents happen. We should not vilify BP. We need to commend them for taking responsibility (Hopefully with others) as they have. They are a British compay. They don't need America to survive. They may want to keep drilling in America but they can drill many places in the world outside America with a lot less restrictions. Some are already moving their rigs to other places ion the word to drill. the moratorium is imposed by our government and is not the responsibility of BP to pay lost wages to those out of work due to the moratorium. Unemployment is there for that. Unemployment is to be a bridge between jobs not a means of living. I know several how say they will accept a job ( it may pay less than they were used to) after unemployment runs out. As a country we cannot afford to pay people for not working. Helping between jobs is great.


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