By Houston Business Journal

After losing another court battle that has no short-term bearing on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration is working to unveil yet another deepwater drilling moratorium.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans on July 8 shot down the administrationâ¿¿s request to stay a lower courtâ¿¿s decision to lift the six-month moratorium by a vote of 2-1. The court, however, will not officially rule on the appeal until the week of Aug. 30, meaning there will be no drilling for the next seven weeks anyway.

Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. LLC called it a ⿿hollow victory⿝ for the industry, since the court has promised to give the Interior Department the right to a quick hearing if a driller decides to move forward with a deepwater well.

⿿This is the kind of mumbo-jumbo stuff that justifies all the lawyer jokes that people tell,⿝ Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.'s morning report stated. ⿿Bottom line ⿿ no industry player is going to incur the hefty expense of mobilizing to drill a deepwater well with this type of legal uncertainty staring them in the face.⿝

The Houston Business Journal is providing continuous coverage of the Gulf oil spill.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010