Covering Louisiana

Jun 8, 2011 4:47 PM by Press Release

DNR Secretary Angelle Lauds First Major Post-Moratorium Oil and Gas Discovery in Gulf of Mexico

Today, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle congratulated ExxonMobil Corporation for two major oil discoveries and a gas discovery in the Gulf of Mexico. The discoveries were announced today following the company's first post-moratorium deepwater exploration well.

ExxonMobil Exploration Company estimates that this discovery will produce more than 700 million barrels of oil equivalent, making this one of the largest discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico in the last decade. The well is located 250 miles southwest of New Orleans in approximately 7,000 feet of water.

"This is a great day for the Gulf of Mexico offshore energy industry and a great day for America," said Angelle. "One year since our fight to lift the moratorium on deepwater drilling began, ExxonMobil has made one of the largest Gulf of Mexico discoveries in ten years. This discovery proves that the Gulf of Mexico offshore industry is capable of finding the fuel that energizes America in a safe and responsible manner. The presence of this activity also impacts Louisiana's businesses and communities in a positive way."

ExxonMobil is utilizing several Louisiana companies to support this exploration activity. Edison Chouest and Otto Candies vessels are operating out of Port Fourchon. Additionally, Exxon Mobil is utilizing PHI, Inc for helicopter travel.

"One year ago, Governor Jindal and Secretary Angelle had the vision to create GEST and begin an aggressive effort to end the moratorium and get this nation back to work with American energy," said GEST Executive Director Lori LeBlanc. "With Secretary Angelle's leadership, GEST and the Back to Work Coalition are making significant headway in our push for plan and permit approvals. However, we recognize that our work is not done. Today's news from ExxonMobil demonstrates just how important the timely issuance of drilling permits is to America's energy future."

As the state's liaison between the offshore oil and gas industry and the federal government, Angelle has led the effort to bring a return to responsible exploration and the job and economic stability that come with it. Under Governor Jindal's direction, he established the Back to Work Coalition, a group of industry representatives facilitated by the Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST). Angelle has presented a unified voice to Director Bromwich and BOEMRE officials in order to create a clearer roadmap for resumption of normal Gulf exploration operations.

"Through the Back to Work Coalition's persistence in deciphering and improving the deepwater permitting process, discoveries like Exxon Mobil's can happen and can continue to happen," added Angelle. "It is critical that we continue the dialogue with the federal government to ensure that permits are issued in a timely manner so that discoveries like this can continue to strengthen America's energy security and provide affordable energy for all Americans."

"We greatly appreciate the on-going efforts of Governor Jindal and Secretary Angelle and the many other state and congressional officials in Louisiana who encouraged the federal government to approve drilling permits and put thousands of Americans back to work in the oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico," said ExxonMobil spokesman Patrick McGinn.

"The U.S. oil and natural gas industry is appreciative of the efforts of Secretary Angelle and the Back to Work Coalition. Every discovery, big and small, is critical to getting this nation and the region back to work, and the coalition's efforts have effectively driven the country toward that goal. We have much to gain with offshore exploration, with thousands of jobs, billions of dollars of government revenues, and the United States' energy security at stake," said Upstream Director Erik Milito of API.

To date, Angelle and the Back to Work Coalition have met with BOEMRE staff in Washington, D.C. 10 times and hosted over 28 conference calls on the topic of deepwater and shallow water permitting.

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