Committee being formed to promote Gulf drilling

A new offshore committee is being formed by the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association to promote energy production and responsible development of energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico.

The initiative will be coordinated by consultant Lori LeBlanc, of Lori LeBlanc LLC in Thibodaux, association Chairman Jim Hutchison said.

LeBlanc served as deputy secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources from 2008 to 2010.

She became executive director of the Gulf Economic Survival Team, which was formed in June 2010 to push for a full return to energy production in the Gulf after a drilling moratorium resulted from the BP disaster.

“The Gulf is America’s energy workhorse, and its economic impacts are astounding,” Hutchison said. “Thirty percent of our nation’s domestic oil is produced in the Gulf of Mexico and energy activity in the Gulf contributes $5 (billion) to $8 billion per year to the U.S. Treasury.”

The economic impact in Louisiana is $44.3 billion, he said.

“To continue this great success story, it’s imperative that we increase our outreach efforts with federal leaders and have a seat at the table when key policy decisions are being made,” Hutchison said.

“Lori LeBlanc has had great success working with federal leaders on regulatory issues and promoting energy production in the Gulf as part of the Gulf Economic Survival Team, and we are very pleased to have her on board to lead this exciting effort for our group,” association President Chris John said.

The offshore committee will focus on policy, partnership, public input and positive communication in support of oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Activities will include developing and maintaining relationships with federal policymakers and members of Congress. monitoring and commenting on federal rules that affect Gulf development, collaborating with members, other trade associations and other Gulf Coast states on energy policy initiatives and communicating the significance of Gulf energy production to the nation’s economy and energy supply.

Targeted policy issues may include the Rigs to Reef program, national ocean policy, effects of new mitigation requirements, outer-continental-shelf lease sales, revenue sharing, and industry safety and technology. The committee also will maintain LMOGA’s involvement in Louisiana’s coastal restoration and protection efforts.