Ports, Louisiana’s secret ingredient

If you talk to anybody about Louisiana, nine times out of ten, the first thing that comes to mind is our food — and it is for good reason. We take great care in preparing local dishes and protecting our secret ingredients or special processes, especially when it comes to gumbo. Whether it is a homemade roux, a certain smoked sausage, or fresh duck out of the rice field, every recipe is meant to stand out.

Louisiana, like many other states in the nation, is known to produce energy. The secret ingredient that makes Louisiana stand out from the rest of the country is not only our access to the Gulf, but the infrastructure available to export U.S. goods to the world through our ports.

Our ports and ship channels are the roux to our oil and gas industry gumbo. These avenues of exportation are an economic driver for our state providing 525,000 jobs, nearly $2 billion in local taxes, and another $2.4 billion in state taxes.

The LNG community relies heavily upon these shipping channels as they grow and expand. Recently, Cheniere exported it 100th LNG Cargo, Venture Global announced an $8.5 billion LNG complex, G2 LNG is planning for an $11 billion natural gas facility, and Magnolia LNG has announced a planned $3.45 billion facility, to name a few. There is a reason that LNG and PetroChemical companies have chosen Louisiana, and that is because our waterways give these companies unprecedented access to foreign consumers.

With the amount of tax revenue it brings and the total number of jobs created by our ports, it would seem that this infrastructure would remain a top priority. Unfortunately, scrolling through Louisiana’s budget doesn’t seem to show that sentiment.

As it stands, the state has no dedicated funding source to keep our ports and channels at proper depth and to keep them maintained. The only funding that could come for these projects is through the capitol outlay process, and that tends to be very political. Year after year of recommendations, we often see these funds have yet to materialize. The current Port Priority Program does not allow for funding of these channel projects.

There is a current backlog in deepening projects of which the state is responsible for no more than 25 percent of the total cost, which is around $100 -130 million over twenty years. The rest of the funding, albeit that the proper permits are in place, is provided by the state from the federal government. The Calcasieu Ship Channel alone is in need of $79 million from the state over the next twenty years to meet its federal obligation.

If there is currently a backlog, how are these channels still navigable for cargo ships? Local communities and parishes have had to dig up and sometimes borrow funds in order to keep the channels functional, but this is not a viable long-term solution. The local parties may be able to come up with cash to dredge to proper depth once or twice but what happens when there is nothing left?

Unfortunately, there is a dreaded smell – the smell of a burning roux. As we see expansion of LNG facilities, we also see the shallowing our waterways. These deep draft channels are vital to the existence of our state, but without the proper funding, these channels will not be navigable.

Our state leaders must realize that an investment in our ports means an overall investment in Louisiana. It is time that the state join the locals’ hands on that spoon to stir the roux, keeping our channels deep and open for business. Maybe it’s to revisit Louisiana’s offshore limits in the Gulf and increase our revenue sharing so that Louisiana infrastructure would see the proper attention it deserves.

 




It’s Time to Flip the Conversation

With all the talk about optimism in the American oil and gas industry, it is puzzling to some to read a headline stating that a community heavy in oil and gas is experiencing job loss. Unfortunately, this is becoming an all to common trend in Louisiana.

While United States is experiencing a significant increase in drilling activity, Louisiana is seeing historically low rig counts. The United States saw a drastic increase in employment from 4.5 percent in December to 5.1 in January, but communities like the Houma-Thibodaux area saw 1,800 jobs cut in the same 31-day period. Unemployment in this area has increased from 6.1 percent in December to 6.7 percent in January, according to the article.

This declining trend in employment is of grave concern for many of our state officials. The State Legislative Economist, Greg Albrecht, said at a recent Revenue Estimating Conference meeting, “What we need is employment growth to stop declining. It boils down to that. We have to have job growth. Or at least slower declining… We need to see some sustained improvement in that.”

An increase in unemployment is harmful to our communities and even worse for our state’s bottom line. The Commissioner of Administration, Jay Dardenne, blamed the rate of unemployment for our budget woes. He said, “All that points back to employment. I think our biggest challenge is to turn around the state’s employment numbers….The big challenge for the state right now is to reverse that trend and get more people working so that they’re paying income tax and that they’re buying more things.”

The Houma-Thibodaux area, like the rest of Louisiana, is highly dependent on our oil and gas industry. Of the 6,600 total jobs lost in that community, 3,700 direct oil and gas jobs were lost. It is highly likely that the remaining 2,900 jobs were lost due to the significance the industry has in this area.

What is most disheartening is the action the state has taken against hundreds of oil and gas companies. As we speak, 5 coastal parishes are suing oil and gas companies for alleged damages. To make matters worse, the Governor sent a letter to 15 coastal parishes stating that if they didn’t file suit against these oil companies, the state would do it for them.

Louisiana’s tax environment is not necessarily a welcome mat to future investment either. Over the past two years, there have been over a billion dollars in taxes raised. It’s hard to believe that any business, regardless of the industry, would want to come to Louisiana and stand in line for the state to decide what’s their “fair share.”

It’s time to flip the conversation. We need to have robust discussions about what it would take to get the industry back to work. What can we do to attract more investment should be the focus, not how can we extract more from the companies fighting for survival. The oil and gas industry has the ability to pull Louisiana out of these tough financial times. Instead of adding insult to injury, let’s create a stable tax environment that welcomes growth and investment, and stop the frivolous lawsuits that are driving vital jobs out of Louisiana.




One Step Forward

A billowing sigh of relief was heard from oil and gas companies all across Louisiana, and with that sigh came a little boost of confidence.

On March 3, the United States 5th District Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority’s East lawsuit against nearly 100 oil and gas companies.

In June of 2013, the Flood Protection Authority filed a lawsuit against oil and gas companies claiming that years of oil and gas exploration and production activity had damaged coastal wetlands and that this activity threatened the integrity of hurricane levees.

This lawsuit is merely one example where the oil and gas industry is being targeted with unnecessary and costly lawsuits.

One of the often-spoken mistruths by these attorneys is that the industry is not properly regulated, but according to George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, the oil and gas industry is one of the most regulated industries in all of the United States, with Louisiana standing on top as the most regulated state.

Their research shows that oil and gas companies must navigate nearly 12,000 federal regulations plus the numerous restrictions placed upon these companies by their respective states.

What we should be concerned about are the effects that fallacious litigation is having on our state.

While the United States experiences a 50 percent increase in rig counts, Louisiana continues to see historically low numbers.

Lawsuits like these and many others have closed the door on new investment and are stifling the growth of our state’s economy.

It is difficult to believe that an oil and gas company would decide to lay roots in Louisiana, knowing that 20 years down the road they could be sued for millions while following the laws and being a good partner with both the state and local communities.

These frivolous lawsuits have contributed to the loss of 30,000 oil and gas jobs, $1.5 billion in lost wages, and worse, have turned Louisiana into the number one “judicial hellhole” in the country, according to a litigation watchdog group.

This is not how we want businesses, industry and future families to see our beloved state.

Historically, the oil and gas industry has always been a steady economic driver for Louisiana.

The industry is one of the largest job producers in the state, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Local and parish governments receive more than $1 million per day in taxes paid by oil and gas companies that they can then turn around and use for infrastructure, education and health care.

Nearly 15 percent, or $2.5 billion, of the state’s total taxes, licenses, and fees collected from oil and gas companies are used to bolster the state’s coffers, with many of them going to pay for vital parts of state government.

Louisiana’s health and the protection of its people have and will always remain a top priority for Louisiana’s oil and gas industry.

The people who run and work in these companies are a part of the community.

Not only is coastal Louisiana their livelihood, but it is also the place where they raise their families and enjoy the sportsman’s paradise.

One such example of the industry’s commitment to our communities and the environment is Apache Corporation, who donated 1.7 million trees across the coast of Louisiana.

This year, the company will receive the Governor’s State Conservation Achievement Recognition Program.

In times of natural disaster, the oil and gas industry has always had Louisiana’s back.

In 2005 when Katrina ravaged communities in south Louisiana, oil and gas companies united their time and resources to aid in the recovery.

The industry raised over $1 million, supplying generators and clothing in Bogalusa, housing for victims, providing fuel to the Bogalusa Medical Center and schooling money for displaced children from New Orleans.

Most recently, the industry dispensed nearly $40,000 to families and individuals who were affected by last summer’s flooding.

It is clear that Louisiana’s oil and gas industry is a great friend to the state.

This industry has the ability to assist in pulling us out of the budgetary issues we now face and the capacity to pull families together during times of crises and natural disaster.

We are proud to call Louisiana home, and we will continue to fight for the success of our industry as well as the great people of Louisiana.




Groundhog Day: Louisiana’s Endless Budget Battle

Well, it’s a new year here in Louisiana, but not much has changed. A new year means another budget deficit, which means yet another legislative rumpus over who and or what will foot the bill. Last year it was approximately a $940 million budget shortfall. This year it is a $304 million mid-year deficit, and next year’s budget outlook seems to be more of the same. It seems Louisiana is reading off the same script of the 93’ Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day, except our version is a lot less funny.

Over the past two years, the Governor and many, though not all, legislators teamed up to raise over a billion dollars in taxes to fill the budget holes, but however it seems the hole is never fully filled. This year the argument is over the Rainy Day Fund and how much, if any should be used.

After the 1980’s oil bust the state found itself unable to pay for basic services. Some state workers were forced out of their office because the state couldn’t pay the rent, parks were closed and, multiple charity hospitals were forced cut back on their service. In response to these tough financial times, the Rainy Day Fund was set up in 1991. Over the past ten years, the fund has been dipped into on five different occasions, four times by Jindal and once by Governor Edwards, for over $645 millions. During this special session, the Governor proposed to use the maximum allowed amount of one-third of the total amount or $119 million.

If we keep doing the same thing we will keep getting the same results.

I believe Albert Einstein said it best, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” What will happen when Louisiana runs out of band-aids to fix our budget wounds? It is time for another approach that doesn’t include burdening the people of Louisiana and gives our state the chance to thrive. I think we can do better than this — a thriving oil and gas industry should absolutely be part of the solution.

To encourage future investment in Louisiana, we must first create a stable tax environment. It doesn’t matter whether you are in the dry-cleaning business or a major refiner; when you look to invest, you want a stable tax environment. The latest uptick in taxes combined with the continued attacks on important business incentives makes it easy to find a reason not to invest in Louisiana.

Another way to attract investment is to provide a stable legal environment, particularly important for the oil and gas industry in South Louisiana. Unfortunately, the coastal and Legacy lawsuits have placed a giant red “X” on South Louisiana. We hear it all too often from out of state companies that love the geology and the workforce here in Louisiana, but the threat of getting sued by landowners, parishes, or the state is too high. As the United States experiences an increase in rig counts, South Louisiana continues to have record job losses and historically low rig counts.

The oil and gas industry is a significant economic driver and an enormous contributor to tax revenue in Louisiana. And we face budget deficit after budget deficit; maybe it’s time we focus on revitalizing our oil and gas industry. The industry is contributing $500 million in direct revenue to the state. The question we should be asking is how do we double our energy production, not what hospital should we close. The reawakening of the oil and gas industry is a fundamental component to Louisiana economic revival.

Louisiana is vital to the overall health of the United States and is absolutely essential for the role we play in America’s energy industry. We must prioritize and treat the oil and gas sector for the treasure that it is. Our state leaders must enact policies that will enable our industry to flourish as we look to build a more financially sound Louisiana.




Briggs: Trump assembles the oil and gas dream team

The 45th president has officially taken office, and now he begins the task of fulfilling the many promises made during his campaign to put American energy first. Everyone is keeping a close eye on the new administration and what it means for the oil and gas industry. Trump’s first days have offered some sense of confidence as he assembles his cabinet appointments.

If you are involved in the oil and gas industry, the EPA is most likely the first thing to come to mind when you hear about big government regulations. What is Trump’s plan to slash through the red tape? To start, he appointed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Pruitt has spent much of his time in Oklahoma fighting against the countless, burdensome regulations. He sued the EPA to block their Clean Power Plant rule, along with the Waters of the US. Pruitt is also responsible for establishing the Federalism Unit that solely focused on fighting the regulatory war waged by the Obama administration.

Texas, like Louisiana, is known for being an absolute energy producing power house. So who better to lead the U.S. Department of Energy than a former leader of such an energy producing state. According to the Texas Tribune, under Rick Perry’s governance of Texas, oil and gas production rocketed by an estimated 260 percent and 50 percent respectively. His tenure was defined by a tax-friendly environment to producers, regulations that enabled not disabled growth, and he, like Pruitt, fought against the EPA. In Perry’s last days in office, he also called on Washington to develop an all-encompassing energy plan to expedite natural gas imports to bring the US one step closer to energy dependence.

The Department of Interior’s main role within the federal government is to protect and manage our nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage, and for Secretary of that department, Trump has appointed Congressman Ryan Zinke. Zinke, a seasoned veteran that served our country as a Navy SEAL for almost 20 years and an avid outdoorsman, knows what it means to protect our country and understands the true value of our nation’s land. Zinke is a proponent of the Keystone project as well as a supporter of increasing coal mining and oil and gas production.

Lastly, one appointment that you would not think to be of much concern to the oil and gas industry is secretary of state, but with his over four decades of experience in this sector, he must be of note. On Feb. 1, the Senate confirmed former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson. Tillerson is not a stranger to dealing with foreign clients and that expertise, combined with his experience in oil and gas, will bring us one step closer to energy security.

Founding father and author of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson once said, “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” The election of Donald Trump as commander and chief of the United States has reignited a hope in our oil and gas companies across the country and especially in Louisiana. As he continues to pick his cabinet secretaries, what you see time and time again is that these individuals have a track record of putting American energy first and putting an end to big government regulations that waste the labor of the American people.




BRIGGS: Pipelines, Trains And Automobiles

First it was Keystone, then it was Dakota. One pipeline after the next has become the focal point of environmental and anti-fossil fuel organizations across the nation.

The bad news is that this fight has found its way to our very own backyards of south Louisiana over the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. These out of state and paid-for protestors have infiltrated our state in hopes to convince the public, civic leaders, and industry that the new pipeline will destroy our natural resources, as they continue their call for the end of fossil fuels.

The Bayou Bridge pipeline will transport crude oil from its terminal hub facilities in Nederland, Texas to terminal facilities and refineries in Lake Charles, arriving at the listing market hub in St. James. Finally, the crude will be redistributed to refineries throughout the Baton Rouge area. The pipeline will increase the access that Gulf Coast refineries have to North America and increase our nation’s ability to deliver refined product throughout our state, strengthening national security and making us less dependent on foreign and imported oil…

 

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Louisiana’s Resolutions

By Gifford Briggs

It’s that time of year again, where we all make plans to enrich our lives…to become healthier, wealthier, and wiser. For some it may be just as simple as wanting to shed a couple of those holiday pounds added around the belt. Regardless of the resolution, the issuance of the New Year is time for a fresh start and an opportunity to make positive changes in our own lives.

Along with our personal resolutions and new beginnings, we, the American people, voted for a fresh start and a determination to “Make America Great Again.” Like it or not this resolution includes plans to peel back the layers of red tape that have choked out the American dream, repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, build a wall to secure our southern border, and unleash American Energy Industry to relieve us of our energy dependence.

But what about Louisiana? What will we do to ensure that our state is in a better posture than previous years? What should be our New Year’s resolution for Louisiana’s oil and gas industry?

The first resolution that Louisiana and its leaders must make is to put an end to the abuse of its judicial system; more specifically, put a stop to the coastal and Legacy Lawsuits. These lawsuits are discouraging future investment in the state, subjecting many past and present energy producers to significant and unnecessary legal obstacles. These lawsuits, which are unheard of in other states, have turned Louisiana into a litigious hell-hole. The abuse is costing many hardworking men and women their jobs and ultimately making it harder for our citizens to keep the lights on.

Secondly both our federal and state elected leaders must prioritize Louisiana’s exporting sector. Louisiana is strategically positioned to become the out right leader in the United States for energy exportations. With the expansion of the Sabine Pass and the first phase of construction of Port Cameron set to be completed later this year, it is a resolution and goal that can and must be achieved for Louisiana’s ultimate benefit.

Lastly, we must reverse new regulations released from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) requiring that all exploration and production companies in a lease each must have 100% of the cash to plug, abandon, and decommission gas projects on the U.S. outer continental shelf. If low and volatile global prices weren’t enough on these small independent companies, the administration comes down with another layer of red tape before they leave office. This rule will not only be detrimental to Louisiana but also the entire country. Our federal leaders must hold this next administration accountable to stopping the unnecessary and harmful regulations killing our industry.

If you live in Louisiana, no matter what your profession, you are tied to the oil and gas industry one way or another. These New Year’s resolutions will help our state get off on the right foot, paving the way for continued growth and improvement. It is critical that we fight for our industry, and this New Year is the perfect time to start!




Will Trump Help Independent Operators In The Gulf Of Mexico?

By Gifford Briggs

The Louisiana economy needs a kick start, not a kick in the teeth. Unfortunately, the outgoing Obama Administration is making a last gasp effort to hit us where it hurts most—our energy sector.

It’s no secret – lower commodity prices, out-of-control regulations, and other factors have challenged the oil and gas industry in recent years. Well over 10,000 of our high-paying energy jobs have been lost. We are all concerned, our state coffers are depleted, and we need solutions from Washington on a modern, pro-growth energy policy.

This is no time for bureaucratic rules that actually deter oil and gas companies from sparking growth and creating jobs. But the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), under the direction of the Obama Administration, seems unfazed by these realities and has announced devastating new guidelines on financial assurance for operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

An arcane part of energy policy, financial assurance is required to obtain a federal lease for offshore drilling. Energy companies must put up bonds or other collateral to ensure that sufficient funds will be available to safely decommission a well once the oil and gas has been extracted. This is intended to protect taxpayers from footing the bill should an energy company go bankrupt or walk away from a lease before plugging a well.

Existing financial assurance guidelines have worked for decades, even in the toughest times. Making them more onerous will not improve on their 100% successful track record—but it will add extensive costs. Operators will be asked to put up larger bonds or set aside more capital funds. To the extent they can do so, they will be redirecting monies that could otherwise be spent on exploration, wages and hiring, and yes, well decommissioning itself.

There are reasons to doubt that smaller, independent operators will be able to comply. Independent companies not blessed with the deep pockets of major oil and gas companies will likely be unable to provide sufficient financial assurance. Leases will be lost and bankruptcies will ensue, sending the industry into a tailspin.

According to an independent study by energy experts at Opportune, LLC, the results will be dire. Over 10 years, production will fall by the equivalent of 367 million barrels of oil, and 87,000 fewer energy jobs will be available. The hit to U.S. GDP is estimated at $10 billion.

Here in Louisiana, our state budget situation will only worsen. The oil and gas industry paid nearly $1.5 billion in state taxes in fiscal year 2013—over 14% of the total taxes and fees collected. Another $1.4 billion comes from taxing household earnings from Louisianans working in the industry.

Damage to the energy sector is immediately reflected in our state revenues. We’re already facing a 2016 shortfall that could reach $300 million, on top of $315 million in arrears from last year. We cannot afford to lose more oil and gas contributions that help fund health care, higher education, and other essential services.

Louisianans recognized that the country was on the wrong track. The American people made it clear they want more growth, better jobs, and the security of a domestic energy strategy unconstrained by radical anti-drilling ideology. That means overturning the BOEM’s unfair, job-killing financial assurance rule.

The good news is that a newly empowered Congress can right the wrong the regulators in Washington seem intent on committing. Our congressional delegation in Washington is poised to immediately craft and pass a legislative solution to modernize financial assurance guidelines without crippling America’s domestic energy production. Our working families and communities are depending on it.




Gifford Briggs: Trump – A New Hope?

Nearly 40 years ago, Luke Skywalker began his cinematic journey to becoming a Jedi on the big screen. Over a series of blockbuster films, Luke captured the imagination of millions of Americans as he fought Darth Vader, destroyed the death star and saved the galaxy.

In the days since the shocking presidential election, some Star Wars fans have likened President-elect Donald Trump to Luke Skywalker as he rose up to challenge the evil empire. Others have taken a much darker view comparing him to the Evil Emperor. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, it is likely we can all agree President-elect Trump will need some help from “the force” to get the nation’s economy going and fulfill his campaign promise to “make America great again.”

Given the important role the energy sector plays in job creation and stimulating economic growth across the country, America’s oil and natural gas industries could be the key to Trump’s success.

Conventional wisdom suggests the Trump Administration will be a strong advocate for oil and natural gas. At the very least the job-killing, anti-energy policies that have suffocated growth and production over the last 8 years will finally come to an end. That in itself is enough to celebrate, but there’s even more reason for cautious optimism.

On the campaign trail, Trump called for an “America First” energy plan that includes using “our vast coal, shale gas, and other American energy sources in a clean and appropriate manner to benefit American families and workers.” Trump has described a vision for American energy independence that will:

  • Create millions of jobs while protecting the environment
  • Declare energy dominance as a economic and foreign policy goal
  • Unleash $50 trillion in shale reserves
  • Become independent of OPEC or other hostile nations for our imports
  • Open offshore and onshore leasing on federal lands
  • Encourage the use of domestically produced natural gas
  • Rescind all job destroying executive actions taken by President Obama
  • Eliminate all barriers to responsible energy production

The truth is no one really knows precisely how many of Trump’s policy objectives will be achieved over the next four or possibly eight years, but it is abundantly clear America is headed in a new direction.

This change could not come at a better time for Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry. We’ve lost 20,000 jobs over the past 15 months, as government-sponsored litigation and global energy prices continue to put downward pressure on new investments. The prospects for the next year show no improvement as Governor John Bel Edwards prepares to file more unprecedented lawsuits against the state’s number one provider of private sector jobs. Not to mention the regulatory and fiscal issues we are already facing at the state level.

President-elect Trump may not be able to solve all the challenges facing our industry, but his historic election is a hopeful sign that things could improve at the federal level soon. With the right people and policies in place, the Trump Administration could stimulate new industry growth and investments in our state and many others like Louisiana that depend on oil and gas for good paying jobs and significant tax revenues. Through creative policy making and a roll back of some of the unnecessary and over burdensome regulations implemented by the current administration, Trump could help bring the energy industry back to Louisiana and the United States.

I am cautiously optimistic about the prospects for our industry under the new Trump presidency, but this epic story is just beginning.  Similar to the Star Wars trilogy, we could experience a few unforeseen twists and turns along the way. Will President-elect Trump be a Jedi Master of pro-growth, pro-jobs American energy policy? Or will he take a turn toward the dark side? Only time will tell, but we know for sure he is a Rogue One.




Roadblocks won’t stop us

We are closing in on the two-year mark for the historic drop in crude oil prices. In the span of 2014-2016, the industry has seen the price for a barrel of oil drop from north of $110 to south of $30. This crash has brought about great hardship for the Louisiana oil and gas industry as well as the entire job market within our state. We have seen well over 10,000 jobs lost in Louisiana and more than 350,000 jobs lost nationally.

In addition to the record low crude oil prices and the vast loss of jobs, elected officials across coastal Louisiana are being told – “Sue the oil and gas industry for alleged damage to the coast or the state will do it for you”. Certain coastal parishes have already filed suits, such as Jefferson and Plaquemines Parish, but many other coastal parishes are opposed to the suits due to the immediate impact more lawsuits would have on their respective parish economies.  Every parish in our state has been impacted by oil and gas jobs in some fashion. But now, not only are oil and gas jobs fewer and further between due to low prices, but the ones that do exist are now threatened by coastal and legacy lawsuits from our elected leaders.

In addition to low prices and legal challenges, A third element that brings heart burn to the Louisiana oil and gas industry is the uncertainty what OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) will or will not do at their next meeting in Vienna at the end of November. The OPEC Secretary has given a nod to international media outlets that OPEC will indeed place a cap or a freeze on daily production by the OPEC member nations. However, Iran and Iraq have both indicated that they have interest in escalating their respective production levels to compensate for the last two years of pitiful oil prices. Both of their economies have taken major blows due to the downturn. So while OPEC offers hope of a freeze in daily production, they are willing to admit that the freeze is contingent on what Iran and Iraq decide with regards to their daily output. All of this just means one thing for our industry, more uncertainty.

However, its not all dark clouds on the horizon.  If we have said this once, we have said it a thousand times – the hard working men and women of Louisiana’s oil and gas industry are a resilient people. No matter the hard times that have fallen, our people get back up and keep fighting. They are fighting for a way of life – not just a job. The first well was spud in 1908 in Jefferson Davis Parish by a wildcatter that had an end goal in mind – finding oil. This process has been repeated over and over in this state for over a century. So while the international crude oil market and our government may be making drilling a well extremely difficult in Louisiana, we are confident that we will make it through this tough time.

Here is the key: we have to make sure that when the tide turns and the industry rebounds, we have a legal, regulatory and fiscal environment that attracts investment dollars instead of chasing it away.  Our leaders at the state and local level, have a choice to make, lets make sure they choose a thriving oil and gas industry for Louisiana.