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Drilling ban to be Lifted soon,

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September 27, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: RIG , DO

So what is happening to drilling stocks? The are rallying ahead of lifting the ban news which will cause retail shorts to cover or new retail investors to buy shares of drillers once they see actual news the ban has been lifted. Thats not how smart money acts though, they are covering and adding shares of RIG stocks before the news hits the wires in a few weeks.

Salazar: Drilling ban study due soon By Ben Geman - 09/22/10 01:35 PM ET

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday that his top offshore energy regulator will deliver a report in coming weeks on "whether and how" the department will alter the controversial freeze on deepwater oil-and-gas drilling.

The White House is under immense pressure from the oil industry, Republicans and Gulf Coast lawmakers from both parties to lift the six-month ban imposed after the BP oil spill began.

It's slated to last until the end of November, but Michael Bromwich — who heads Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management — has held meetings around the country on drilling policy and needed safeguards that will inform possible changes.

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"Director Bromwich is currently analyzing the information he has collected and is developing recommendations on whether and how we will adjust the temporary deepwater drilling suspension," Salazar said at a forum on toughening blowout containment capabilities. "He will deliver a report to me in the next several weeks."

A copy of Salazar's prepared remarks suggest a report is even more imminent — they indicate Bromwich will provide the report "in the very near future."

Interior has issued several new safety requirements in recent months and overhauled its offshore drilling oversight structure.

Salazar said at the forum, held at Interior headquarters, that the BP spill revealed that neither the government nor the oil industry were prepared for such disasters.

 


Landrieu Ties OMB Vote To Lifting Deepwater Drilling Ban

By Siobhan Hughes

Published September 23, 2010

| Dow Jones Newswires

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Sen. Mary Landrieu (D., La.) on Thursday said she would block the Obama administration's nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget unless a moratorium on deepwater drilling is lifted or "significantly modified," escalating a battle with the White House over energy policy.

The threat came hours after the Senate Budget Committee voted Thursday to approve Jacob Lew as the Obama administration's second White House budget director. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee had approved Lew's nomination earlier this week. Lew previously held the position of OMB director in the Clinton administration, from 1998 to 2001.

"Although Mr. Lew clearly possesses the expertise necessary to serve as one of the President's most important economic advisors, I found that he lacked sufficient concern for the host of economic challenges confronting the Gulf Coast," Landrieu wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.). "I cannot support further action on Mr. Lew's nomination to be a key economic advisor to the President until I am convinced that the President and his Administration understand the detrimental impacts that the actual and de facto moratoria continue to have on the Gulf Coast."

The Obama administration imposed a moratorium on deepwater drilling in late May in response to the BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) oil spill, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The ban is set to expire Nov. 30. The Interior Department has said it wants to have in place new safeguards by then to improve the safety of offshore drilling and new tools to respond to offshore oil spills.

But businesses along the Gulf Coast have warned about harm to regional economies from a prolonged moratorium on new drilling. The threat to hold up Lew's nomination played well with such businesses, which have been trying to persuade the Obama administration to lift the ban and to address ripple effects experienced by companies drilling in shallow waters.

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"I hope that this renewed plea to the administration will help us find a breakthrough in our quest for a solution to get shallow rigs back to work," said Jim Noe, the general counsel of Hercules Offshore Inc. (HERO: 2.54 ,-0.03 ,-1.17%) and a member of a group called the Shallow Water Energy Coalition. "If permit flow continues to be so slow, then Gulf Coast communities will be threatened, energy security will be weakened, jobs will be lost, and clean natural gas will be less available."

Some six permits to drill new wells in the shallow waters have been approved since the Interior Department issued new offshore drilling regulations, government data show. But the shallow-water drillers say that is a fraction of the approvals granted before the Deepwater Horizon blowout and has resulted in a de facto moratorium in shallow-water drilling.

The White House and the Interior Department referred questions to the OMB. OMB spokesman Kenneth Baer said that delaying the arrival of a new OMB director wouldn't help at a time when the U.S. is focused on big budget issues, which include large federal deficits and renewed weakness in economic growth.

"Jack Lew has received overwhelming, bipartisan support from Senators across the spectrum in both committees," Baer said in a statement. "Especially during this critical time in our economy and in our fiscal situation, the Senate should move quickly to vote on his confirmation before it recesses at the end of the month."

(Corey Boles and Tennille Tracy contributed to this article.)

 

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