Two years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster and subsequent drilling moratorium, The Los Angeles Times checks in on how Lafayette's recovering. What the newspaper found was mixed opinions about whether the industry is back on track, ample evidence energy exploration will be a hot political issue and, most important, a resilient oilfield town:
Visitors to this oil town might be forgiven for wondering whether the BP oil spill and subsequent drilling moratorium ever happened. “Now hiring” signs are plastered on billboards around town, and hotels such as the Crowne Plaza are chock full of seminars training students to work on offshore rigs. Many offshore companies can’t find enough workers for the jobs they’re listing. This parish has the lowest unemployment rate in Louisiana, 4.8%.
Most industry officials the newspaper talked to, however, still believe the politics of drilling, in particular the Obama administration, is hampering business:
“We find there’s a lot of rhetoric coming from the politicians — they say they’re going to lift the moratorium, and then they don’t issue permits,” said Keith Mosing, chief executive of Frank’s International, which provides tools and workers for offshore rigs. He says 80% of the equipment he makes in Lafayette is going overseas.
But Volker Rathmann, president of Houston-based Collarini Energy Staffing, which finds workers for offshore rigs, told The LA Times the demand for such workers has tripled in the last year and a half. “If you take the rhetoric and politics out of it, I don’t think the Obama administration is very far away from what the Republicans are saying,” Rathmann said. “If you can spell drilling, you can get a job.”

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