Katie Moore / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS -- A new study shows oil-related businesses are still struggling a year and a half after the BP oil spill, not from the spill itself, but from the slowdown in drilling permits.
Many predicted the moratorium on deepwater drilling would be the disaster after the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
GNO, Inc. released a new study Monday as many Gulf Coast leaders urge action by the White House to keep that prediction from becoming a prophesy.
“Despite the moratorium being lifted, here we are 15 months later and we are still seeing deepwater permits at over a 70 percent deficit to historical levels,” said Michael Hecht, CEO of GNO, Inc.
They're calling it a ‘permitorium’ caused by stricter regulations that are allowing gulf drilling, but at a snail's pace, in both deep and shallow water.
“We have watched as over 12 major deepwater rigs have left the United States to go to foreign countries because they're not allowed to go to work here in the United States,” said Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana.
According to GNO, Inc., those bigger drilling companies can move around, allowing them to better withstand changes in the industry.
But the medium to small suppliers are taking the biggest hit, with half of those surveyed saying they've had to lay off workers.
“Over 40 percent of businesses are no longer making a profit. 43 percent of all of these businesses have lost all of their cash reserves and nearly half of them have been forced to relocate,” said Lizette Terral, an executive with Chase Bank in New Orleans.
Local leaders claimed there's still confusion over the Obama Administration's post-oil spill requirements for drilling permits, and that it's leading to the delays in jump starting production.
“I don't understand why we can't get these people back to work. It's not only hurting Louisiana, and our workers here in Louisiana, but it's hurting the independence and the national security of the United States of America,” said Jefferson Parish President John Young.
Now, GNO, Inc. hopes their new data will provide a better picture of one of Southeast Louisiana's biggest industries.
The survey also found that 41 percent of the drilling-dependant businesses are not making a profit.