Following last week’s lifting on the moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a group of oil and gas company representatives has been lobbying the Interior Department in an attempt to speed up the permit process. This comes barely six months after the disastrous Deepwater oil spill, for which BP was found liable. And, early this morning, BP announced it was selling four deep-water oil and gas fields in the Gulf, begging the question that, as the turtles return, is the much-vilified energy company getting out of the area?
The answer to that is definitely not–and that comes straight from the horse’s mouth. In a speech Monday morning to the CBI in London, BP’s CEO Robert Dudley reiterated that his firm’s ties to the US were as strong as they ever had been. The figures back it up Despite the sale of the four fields, BP will remain the largest oil producer in the area.
Representatives from the firm were among those lobbying Ken Salazar’s department last week, which included the American Petroleum Institute, Chevron, Transocean, (the firm operating the Deepwater Horizon rig) Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips, Shell Oil, Diamond Offshore and Hercules. But the money from the sale, around $650 million, will be used to help BP fund compensation for the aftermath of the disaster, thought to be between $25 and $30 billion.
Although there are strong economic reasons to reinstate deepwater drilling in the Gulf, the ban has had less of an effect on the economy than expected, with figures suggesting that 8,000 jobs were actually lost, rather than estimates of 23,000. it is unlikely to see a return before 2011, according to the CFO of one drilling firm. But it will be back, despite an attempt by the Center for Biological Diversity to reinstate the ban.
According to the Guardian, BP has also been donating to climate change-denying midterm candidates. Of the $25,000 given, $18,000 has gone to senators opposing action on global warming.