First Rig Leaves Gulf Over Drill Ban

It could be the first of many in response to Obama moratorium
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2010 3:01 PM CDT
In a June 8 photo, a deepwater drilling rig operates near the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

(Newser) – President Obama's moratorium on deepwater drilling may be stuck in legal limbo for the time being, but it's already having a tangible effect: The first idled drilling rig has sailed away from the Gulf of Mexico to work off the coast of Egypt, reports the Houston Chronicle. Diamond Offshore, based in Houston, based its decision on the "uncertainties surrounding the offshore drilling moratorium," and industry analysts say others will follow suit.

For critics of the moratorium, it means lost US jobs. Each ship has about 100 workers aboard, and it requires a network of vendors on shore to keep it supplied, explains the Chronicle. For supporters, it means one less potential oil disaster. Even though a judge has struck down Obama's 6-month moratorium, no company dares to begin new projects while the appeal process is under way.

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