Mideast Unrest Could Affect Gulf Investment, Despite BP Spill

New Orleans, La. – The American Petroleum Institute says production in the Gulf is halted by a lack of drilling permits and lease sales from the Interior Department. Institute spokesman Erik Milito (mih-LEE'-toh) says companies are now closely watching what's happening in Libya.

"I think it's going to have an impact worldwide. Companies are going to have to really look at their energy-development portfolios and make determinations as to where they want to invest."

Milito says the Middle East unrest doesn't mean companies will step up production efforts for the Gulf.

"Libya is just one of the many locations. You've got, you know, coastal Africa. You've got the North Sea in the UK. You've got, you know, Southeast Asia. You've got Australia. So there are a number of places where companies can invest outside of Libya and outside of the Gulf."

Milito says he expects Gulf deepwater production could get back on line in a few months if the Interior Department starts issuing drilling permits and sets up lease sales.

For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming