Louisiana oil and gas leaders are asking for federal help to get through the worst downturn the state’s industry has seen since the 1980s, The Center Square reports.
The price of oil has rebounded to about $40 or so per barrel from an all-time-low in April, but that’s not high enough to give companies confidence to invest, says Gifford Briggs, who heads the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.
LOGA is asking Congress to consider using stimulus money to plug abandoned oil wells in the state. Since 1993, Louisiana has plugged more than 3,300 abandoned wells at a cost of $128 million. But there are still an estimated 4,200 orphan wells remaining and Briggs says the number likely is growing.
A federally funded program to plug orphan wells could provide work to service companies and allow them to bring laid-off workers back. But it would be only a short-term bandage for the industry.
Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, along with the National Ocean Industries Association, is asking for two federal regulatory measures that it says would help the offshore sector.
The organizations are asking the federal government to grant temporary relief more broadly than its current case-by-case system. They also are requesting a streamlined process to approve lease extensions for companies that aren’t currently producing on those leases, which they say would allow flexibility to delay expenses until the economic picture changes.