oil industry

Cheryl DalPozzal / It's New Orleans

Everybody likes to think they're important, but here in Louisiana we really are. Two sectors of our local economy are major components of the national, and global, economy: oil and gas, and renewable energy.

Outside of the oil companies who physically drill for oil, there is a huge industry of companies who do everything else — from building oil rigs to delivering groceries to the men and women who work on them.

One of the biggest offshore support companies in the world is headquartered here in New Orleans. Tidewater.

The continuing drop in the price of oil likely will require state government to change its spending plan for a second time to balance this year’s budget.

The New Orleans Advocate reports that for next year’s budget, which is being drafted now, the collapsing oil prices are adding to problems caused by a big shortfall in revenues.

Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols is warning that tough choices are pending.

The administration is chipping away at the size of next year’s budget hole, and decisions are still weeks away.

U.S. Coast Guard

Four people were airlifted to regional hospitals by the Coast Guard this morning after a supply ship fire, according to a statement released by Coast Guard Sector New Orleans.

The Coast Guard says they received a report of a vessel fire from the offshore supply ship Dustin Santos at approximately 7 a.m. Monday morning.

One person has been killed and three injured in an explosion on an offshore oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Officials say the platform is 12 miles off the Louisiana coast.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement says it appears there’s no oil spilled in the Gulf, and damage was limited to the platform, which was not in production.

Officials says Fieldwood Energy — based in Houston — reported the explosion on its Echo Platform just before 3 p.m. yesterday.

No statement yet from the company.

Several hundred people packed the gym at Lakeshore High School in Mandeville Wednesday night for a meeting about a hydraulic fracturing well proposed about a mile away.

The Helis Oil and Gas project is designed to use a process known as fracking, and is strongly opposed by some residents. They’re worried about the underground well contaminating the community water supply. And they say it’s an inappropriate use of the land.

Helis wants to tap into shale with a 13,000-foot well on 960 acres near the high school.

Hercules Offshore says it will lay off 324 offshore Gulf of Mexico workers because of a decline in business.

The move represents about 15 percent of its workforce.

The Houston-based drilling rig contractor sent a letter to the Texas Workforce Commission last week, saying the company would lay off the employees by the end of the year.

The layoffs involve employees who work out of Port Fourchon, Grand Isle, Berwick, Cameron, Abbeville, Lafitte, Larose and Venice.

The company announced an $88.6 million third quarter loss on October 23.

Eve Troeh / WWNO

The federal government has sold more than 400,000 acres in the western Gulf of Mexico off the Texas coast for oil and gas exploration and development.

U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management official Michael Celata says yesterday's sales, if approved, will bring in about $110 million.

Celata says deep-water tracts drew the highest bids.

Conoco Phillips paid about $61 million for a single tract in the ultra-deep-water Alaminos Canyon area.

Natural Gas Well Leaking In Gulf

Jul 9, 2013

The Coast Guard says natural gas is leaking from a well at a production platform in the Gulf of Mexico 74 miles southwest of Port Fourchon, La.

Chief Petty Officer Bobby Nash says the well is not spewing, but a rainbow sheen four miles wide and three-quarters of a mile long was spotted in an aerial survey Tuesday.

The platform owner was identified as Energy Resources Technology Gulf of Mexico LLC. The company could not immediately be reached for comment.

Petrobras USA says production has begun at its Chinook oil field in the ultra-deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The company says production started last week in the field using a specialized ship that processes and stores oil and natural gas in place of a production platform. The field is being worked by BW Pioneer, a type of ship known in the oil industry as a floating, production, storage and offloading vessel, or FPSO.

Forum Energy Technologies says it plans to build a new 150,000-square-foot facility in St. Martin Parish to produce onshore and offshore drilling equipment for global customers.

Forum Energy CEO Cris Gaut says the $19 million project will replace an existing facility in nearby Broussard. The project will retain 203 existing jobs and create 125 new direct jobs with average annual salaries of more than $45,000, plus benefits. State economic development officials estimate the project will also create an additional 300 new indirect jobs.