by Your MET Staff
| Tuesday, December 30, 2014 |
A few miles from Grand Isle next to the Gulf of Mexico
sits Port Fourchon – a very large supply depot that serves oil rigs and
production platforms across a big swath of the Gulf of Mexico. The depot provides a wide range of supplies,
from drilling pipe to groceries.
The current, steep drop in oil prices has companies and
workers at drilling wells worried. Among
the biggest concerns is the question of whether or not the falling prices will
leave oil rigs sitting idle.
Says Chett Ciasson, Executive Director of Port Fourchon, "In
terms of the drilling side, they may see some impact over the coming year, year
and a half. Well, there is some
Chiasson went on to express that “[t]here's been a lot of
construction, new builds, especially in drill ships coming out, and a lot of
those new drill ships, or some of those new ones coming out in the next year,
may not have a contract."
But what Chiasson doesn’t expect is a major impact on
production platforms where the drilling segment is completed and the oil is
already pumping. According to the
Executive Director, "What the oil companies are doing is they're working
over the next year to a year and a half on getting a lot of these wells that
have been drilled into production."
On the good news side, a recent study on economic impact
showed that the Port has been booming for the last ten years, with earnings of
almost $3 billion in 2013, and employment of approximately 10,000.
Chiasson expressed, "It's just expansion and
constant expansion. I mean we've been one of the fastest growing ports, if not
the fastest growing port in the country for the last 15 years due to the
deepwater oil and gas industry."
Oil industry leaders don’t see the plummeting prices as a
problem in the long run, says Chiasson. In fact, because the Port has almost doubled in size, there is actually
such a high demand for space that the Port has another wharf in the works.
But there is reason for concern, and Port officials and
company leaders in the Gulf will be keeping a close watch on crude oil prices,
with an eye toward maximizing profit despite the plunging prices.