American Elephants

Obama Kills Another Company. And Possibly 494 More Jobs. by The Elephant's Child

Seahawk Drilling Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection and plans to sell its fleet of shallow-water offshore drilling rigs to a competitor for $105 million.  The Obama administration’s moratorium on drilling was intended to give government officials time to look into rig safety procedures and the regulations under which they operate in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The moratorium dragged on, thousands of workers were put out of work; businesses all across the gulf coast suffered, many went out of business. There had never been any safety problems with shallow-water drillers.  A Federal judge ordered the government to end the moratorium, which they did.  Sorta, kinda.

They said the moratorium was over, but people couldn’t go back to work until all their equipment and safety procedures were up to conformity with all the new regulations.  Then the government had to get around to issuing permits to drill.  As I understand it, just because the rigs are sitting idle, does not mean that their costs are idle.

Seahawk plans to sell its fleet of 20 jackup drilling rigs to a competitor for $105 million.  The sale will be carried out under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  If the court and regulators approve the bankruptcy plan it is unclear what will happen to the company’s 494 employees.  Of Seahawk’s 20 rigs, seven are now deployed on projects.

When Federal Judge Martin Feldman ordered the federal government to end its moratorium on deep-sea drilling, he meant it.  He has held the Obama administration in contempt of court for its “defiance” in reimposing the moratorium through other means.

Interior Department regulators acted with “determined disregard” by lifting and reinstituting a series of policy changes that restricted offshore drilling, following the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, U.S. District Judge, Martin Feldman of New Orleans ruled yesterday.

“Each step the government took following the court’s imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance,” Feldman said in the ruling.

The White House is continuing its effort to raise gasoline prices and starve the country of any fossil fuels in the hopes that they will buy more electric cars from Government Motors, and  start to favor the president’s fantasy of plentiful wind and solar energy.

Major rigs have departed the Gulf for regions where they can actually work.  Thousands of high paying jobs have been lost, investment in exploration has gone to other countries and into places like Brazil.  The economic damages will take years to reverse.  Feldman has ruled that the government must pay the substantial legal fees for the lawsuit aimed at ending the moratorium, which mean that the taxpayers get stuck with those too.  All those lawyers in the Obama administration are ignoring the Contempt of Court ruling.

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