President Obama Says Offshore Drilling is a Good Thing

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN--Oil experts think so too, but at what cost?

Opening up the nation's shore lines for more drilling is something the oil industry is very much in favor of.  Their question is, what will they have to sacrifice to see it happen?

"Is this something the (Obama) administration is using to kind of, throw the bone to the industry?" Taylor Mayne, President of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, said.

If President Barack Obama gets his way, drilling along the eastern coast from Virginia to Florida and along the Florida Peninsula, then on to the northern shores of Alaska, will soon become a reality.

"The oil and gas industry has long advocated the need to develop it's own resources, the nation's resources, here at home, rather than be so dependent on foreign oil.  It's something that is very encouraging to the industry, to see the rhetoric changing in Washington right now," Mayne said.

But there is a gray area oil producers are concerned about.  Could the Obama Administration be using this as a tool to gain Republican support for something else?

According to Mayne, "There is some suspicion that's what's taking place.  Certainly the Administration has wanted to promote it's energy policy and it's cap and trade efforts."

Given the recent increase in the local rig count and a steady rise in the price of oil, what does the new proposed drilling mean for the Permian Basin?

"The announcement of this offshore drilling will probably have little effect for our specific region and our specific activity out here.  I think it's more of an overall encouragement, that the administration is changing it's rhetoric," Mayne explained.

There are some local companies that dabble in offshore drilling.  Mayne says these new projects will be high dollar and will likely attract the larger drilling companies in the country.

Mayne says, all things considered, the Permian Basin is holding it's own and President Obama's proposal will be a wait and see type of deal, "This is a long term project.  It's a step in the right direction.  You've got to start somewhere."

Mayne adds, there is still a lot of congressional red tape to go through before getting the proposal is approved.  Even if everything was ready to go now, there probably would not be any meaningful production within the next five years.