As previously reported in this blog, offshore drilling will likely be affected by the recent presidential election. President Barack Obama has his own vision for the future of the practice, distinct from the plan outlined by Mitt Romney. While some professionals in the industry – mainly gas company executives – have their qualms about the president's positions, at least one publication suggests offshore oilfield production will continue to grow as the industry implements more efficient extraction methods.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement states that the Obama Administration issued only 1,304 offshore drilling leases during his first term, as opposed to the Bush Administration, which issued 3,317 such leases in the former president's second term. Permits also fell under Obama, which means ultimately offshore drilling is simply growing at a much slower rate under the current president's regime.
However, Chris Neiger, a contributor with the online publication Fool.com, suggests that pointing the finger at the president for the lack of offshore drilling expeditions isn't entirely fair.
"Offshore drilling access has taken a beating over the past four years, and despite the opinions of oil and gas companies, not all of it is President Obama's fault," Neiger writes. "BP's oil disaster changed safety regulations and severed offshore drilling inroads the industry was making."
According to Neiger, what is happening right now is really a transition period. As a country, we are trying to find more effective ways to drill for oil under water while complying with new regulations. There is going to be a lot of trial and error, but companies that invest in proper oilfield equipment will find that their growth is not hindered.