Oil firms hurt by Gulf spill welcome back drill rigs
Gulf of Mexico oil drillers will be busier this year than at any point since the BP oil spill of 2010 that upended their industry and soiled their reputation along with parts of the marshy Louisiana coast, Reuters reports. Eight more deepwater rigs are expected in the Gulf this year, based on what oil companies tell contractors, including Transocean, Ensco and Seadrill. Such an influx would bring the active deepwater count to 29, just short of the level before the well blowout two years ago this month. "Our customers still see the Gulf of Mexico as an attractive place to do business," says Steven Newman, head of Transocean, the world's largest rig contractor. "We view the Gulf of Mexico today as a net importer of rigs, rather than a net exporter." The pace of permitting remains choppy. Greater New Orleans Inc. says an average of three permits a month were approved in the November to January period, compared with nearly six per month in the year before the spill. Louisiana is home to 1,777 small oil and gas firms, with $4.2 billion in combined annual revenue, and a survey of about 100 of them found that half had to let people go in the past two years, while more than three-quarters ate away at cash reserves or owners' personal savings, according to GNO Inc. Read the full feature here.
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