WASHINGTON, July 12 (UPI) -- An oil driller is predicting nearly 190,000 jobs could be created if offshore production in the United States returns to pre-BP blowout levels.
Quest Offshore Resources said in its study that taking the brakes off the federal government's permitting process could, in fact, boost economic activity related to Gulf of Mexico energy production by 70 percent.
"The study shows what could be accomplished on jobs if project approvals and permits could get back to a normal pace," said Jack Gerard, president and chief executive officer of the American Petroleum Institute, an oil industry trade association based in Washington. "We've done the necessary work raising the bar on safety. We cannot continue to delay developing energy and hiring people in the gulf."
The oil industry has been at odds with the Obama administration since it ordered a moratorium on drilling permits in the gulf so safety standards could be reviewed. The order came after last year's blowout of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which killed 11 workers and resulted in the largest offshore oil spill in history, more than 200 million gallons of crude.
The industry contends the government is moving too slowly in re-starting the permit process.
Gerard said in a written statement that removing roadblocks to increased offshore and onshore oil production could increase jobs and tax revenues at a time when both are needed.