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The Oily South: An Exclusive Report From Louisiana

Submitted by on June 30, 2010 – 9:37 am2 Comments

As I watch the world and national media report on the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I feel a major part is not being reported. Lafayette, Louisiana (my hometown) is the “work horse” of the oil and gas industry and I’ve yet to see any reports on it. My name is Alfonzo “Zo” Bolden and I’m co-CEO of Hood Prep Clothing, located and operated out of Lafayette.

My co-CEO (and brother) Troy recently pointed out mainstream media are reporting the crisis from New Orleans, when Lafayette is the heart of the oil and gas industry and most affected by the spill. In addition, there are two major shrimping communities (Cypermort Point and Delcambre; the latter home to the annual Shrimp Festival) that have been severely impacted by the spill. People here in Lafayette are on pins and needles because of the current economic uncertainty; this area  relies solely on the offshore activity for survival.

Lafayette is the center of Cajun culture in Louisiana. Cajun and Creole people in this area have contributed so much to the national landscape, especially with their unique cuisine. It is also the home of Zydeco music. There are over 200,000 people in Lafayette, which includes the surrounding parishes. Lafayette’s economy was founded on oil and gas and the industry remains a major part of business operation in the city; just a few short decades ago, Lafayette had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the U.S.

There are more than 600 oil-related businesses in Lafayette Parish covering all aspects of the oil industry. Changes in drilling have affected the oil and gas landscape in recent years and while many major companies have relocated to Houston, business continues to thrive in Lafayette. Offshore [a.k.a deep-water] is the current trend in drilling and companies are venturing deeper and deeper into the Gulf of Mexico. New developments meant Lafayette thought it would be booming for years. With the tragedy of the current Deepwater Horizon incident, everything is pretty much at a halt. Major and local companies are now looking to focus on international opportunities as the crisis continues.

Here’s a synopsis of the Deepwater Horizon disaster from Wikipedia:

Deepwater Horizon was an ultra-deepwater, dynamically positioned, semi-submersible offshore drilling rig. Built in 2001 in South Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries, she was commissioned by R&B Falcon, registered in Majuro, Marshall Islands, and leased to BP until 2013.

In September 2009, the rig drilled the deepest oil well in history at a vertical depth of 35,050 ft (10,683 m) and measured depth of 35,055 ft (10,685 m) in the Tiber field at Keathley Canyon block 102, approximately 250 miles (400 km) southeast of Houston, in 4,132 feet (1,259 m) of water.

On April 20, 2010, when drilling at the Macondo Prospect, an explosion on the rig caused by a blowout killed eleven crewmen and ignited a fireball whose flames were visible from 35 miles (56 km) away. The resulting fire could not be extinguished and, on April 22, 2010, Deepwater Horizon sank, leaving the well gushing at the sea floor and causing the largest offshore oil spill in United States history.

Lafayette is our home and not knowing what will happen to the industry has everyone here extremely worried. To learn more about Lafayette, visit www.lafayettegov.org for more information on the oil and gas industry visit www.rigzone.com.

Images: Rigzone.com

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