SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

October 14, 2010 12:11 ET

Rig Operators Breathe Sigh of Relief as Gulf Drilling Ban Is Lifted

The Bedford Report Provides Analyst Research on Transocean & Diamond Offshore Drilling

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 14, 2010) - This week, The US Government lifted its moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico which had been in place since the tragic Deepwater Horizon disaster in April. While this is a first step, any immediate ramifications are likely limited as rig operators must still win regulatory approval to return to work in the region again. Moreover, new safety regulations laid down by the Obama administration could prove costly for companies to comply with and could potentially force smaller firms to stop operating in the Gulf. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration Industry and provides research reports on Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) and Diamond Offshore Drilling, inc. (NYSE: DO). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

The infamous moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf was set to expire in late November, however Interior Secretary Ken Salazar explained that the ban could be lifted six weeks early because the new rules imposed after April's deadly Deepwater Horizon Disaster have strengthened safety measures and cut the risk of another oil spill. The new rules will require companies to get independent certification of the safety of their rig operations. The companies must also have plans in place for recognizing potential hazards to help prevent human errors in all phases of activity. Likely the most costly of the new rules is one requiring rig owners to be responsible for paying for audits, which will oversee the reliability of blowout preventers.

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Although it could take months before deepwater exploration in the Gulf resumes, it is certainly welcome news for offshore drillers such as Diamond Offshore Drilling and Transocean. Offshore drillers had been reporting huge drops in revenues following the ban, whilst energy officials argued that the six-month ban was having a drastic effect on the region's economy.

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