Marvin Odum, upstream director for American operations at Royal Dutch Shell, speaking at a regional oil and gas association meeting in New Orleans, said an increase in coastal oil and gas exploration meant good things for the regional economy.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 pummeled economies along the southern U.S. coast that depend on tourism and fishing.
Odum said regional stimulus should come from deep-water activity off the Louisiana coast. At the Perdido platform alone, he said, there's the capacity to pump enough natural resources out of the gulf to meet the energy demands of 2.2 million U.S. households each year. For Louisiana, that means opportunities in everything from fuels to lubricants.
"Ensuring continued growth in natural gas will take the hard work of thousands of skilled workers and technical experts and a community of supporting contractors and suppliers," he said.
Energy companies and trade groups say the White House is blocking domestic oil and gas production. Odum said permits for offshore work after the 2010 spill took almost a year, though by December the waiting period was around 100 days.
"This is a heartening trend that we want to encourage and keep it moving in the right direction," he said.