More than a billion dollars has been put up by the oil industry to raise the bar for safety standards in the offshore oil and gas industry.
As foreseen by Salazar, OESI would be a collaboration between the industry, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Coast Guard, and the scientific community. Its objectives would be to develop safe and environmentally responsible offshore drilling techniques through research and development, to train technical experts who can oversee deepwater drilling-related activities, and to create a rapid-response capability for any future disasters.
It needs to happen but it doesn’t need to happen in Washington, D.C., or Cambridge, Mass. It needs to happen here, in south Louisiana, which is both the cradle and the epicenter of ocean oil and gas production. Since the first offshore well was drilled here in 1947, generations of Louisianians have devoted their lives to the production of fuels to run America. The expertise is here, and so is the infrastructure.
This brings us to St. Martinville’s International Trade Center, the former Martin Mills. Where else on the Gulf Coast will you find a completely renovated facility with a million square feet under roof and 61 acres of grounds ready to go? In addition, ITC is located in the heart of the Gulf’s oil and gas industry, with proximity to interstate highways, airports, seaports and rail.
From our viewpoint, OESI, with the potential for creating thousands of technical jobs, would be a wonderful antidote for the crushing blows the gusher and the drilling moratorium dealt this region.
Both of Louisiana’s U.S. senators and the district’s newly elected congressman, Jeff Landry, along with state, parish and municipal officials, are launching a crash campaign to bring ITC to the attention of Salazar and his advisors. The deadline to submit proposals, along with letters of encouragement is Nov. 30.
We respectfully urge Secretary Salazar to take a good look at St. Martinville.