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The Economic Costs of an Offshore Drilling Moratorium: A Summary of the Mason Study

By Eric Lowe -- August 16, 2010

In his highly relevant study, Dr. Joseph R. Mason, chair of banking at the Ourso School of Business at Louisiana State University, offers a sophisticated estimate of the economic impacts of a federal moratorium on exploratory offshore oil drilling. The new moratorium, issued by the Obama administration after federal judge Martin Feldman issued an injunction banning the government from enforcing the original moratorium, freezes some 33 current exploratory drilling operations and places a six-month ban on the issuance of exploration permits by the MMS (now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement).

Dr. Mason begins by identifying the “phases” of drilling that support local economies. Exploratory drilling and the development of offshore facilities, the extraction process, and the refining of the crude oil are all identified as impacting Gulf of Mexico economies.…