A ruling lifting the Obama administration's deepwater moratorium as "arbitrary and capricious" would have been a case of everybody wins if not for the immediate announcement that the White House will appeal the ruling.
There is a need for new regulations in offshore and deepwater drilling -- the
disaster makes that very clear. What is also clear is that there are 4,000 rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico, 65% of them in deep or ultra deepwater and 40,000 rigs that have operated in the last 10 years, and this has been the first case of a major disaster in that long and deep history.
BP cannot be allowed to write its own rules for drilling standards, nor should any company - and clearly no one will be able to again. The Minerals Management Service of the Department of Interior has been accused of being too cozy with Big Oil, and new standards for drilling mechanics, devices and safety are all being written into law.
But it was hard to see how a moratorium was going to change that outcome or make the changes in the law any quicker. It was an understandable reaction by the president and well-meant, but did not help the people of the Gulf Coast or reduce the possibility of another well problem.
Despite the ruling from a local parish federal judge appointed by President Reagan during the '80s, there was an opportunity for everyone to win here -- the president in his good desire to be as safe as possible while not allowing the rig jobs along the Gulf Coast to suffer any further. We need offshore drilling, and everyone knows it.
Instead, we've got a legal mess. It's the first of many to emerge from this human and environmental disaster.
Dan Dicker has been a floor trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange with more than 20 years' experience. He is a licensed commodities trade adviser. Dan's recognized energy market expertise includes active trading in crude oil, natural gas, unleaded gasoline and heating oil futures contracts; fundamental analysis including supply and demand statistics (DOE, EIA), CFTC trade reportage, volume and open interest; technical analysis including trend analysis, stochastics, Bollinger Bands, Elliot Wave theory, bar and tick charting and Japanese candlesticks; and trading expertise in outright, intermarket and intramarket spreads and cracks.
Dan also designed and supervised the introduction of the new Nymex PJM electricity futures contract, launched in April 2003, which cleared more than 600,000 contracts last year alone. Its launch has been the basis of Nymex's resurgence in the clearing of power market contracts over the last three years.
Dan Dicker has appeared as an energy analyst since 2002 with all the major financial news networks. He has lent his expertise in hundreds of live radio and television broadcasts as an analyst of the oil markets on CNBC, Bloomberg US and UK and CNNfn. Dan is the author of many energy articles published in Nymex and other trade journals.
Dan obtained a bachelor of arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1982.