NY TIMES DAILY SPIN: "Job Losses Over Drilling Ban Fail to Materialize"

President Obama’s drilling moratorium has been a disaster to the Gulf region. There’s no way to spin it otherwise. Except, of course, in today’s New York Times, where you’ll learn that the moratorium really isn’t that bad at all. There’s enough spin here to make us all dizzy.

From the lead online story at NYTimes.com:

Job Losses Over Drilling Ban Fail to Materialize
The worst forecasts have failed to materialize as companies wait to see how long the moratorium will last before making spending cuts and layoffs.

Anything to shamelessly cover for Obama. Let’s go right to the story:

Job Losses Over Drilling Ban Fail to Materialize
Published: August 24, 2010
WASHINGTON — When the Obama administration called a halt to virtually all deepwater drilling activity in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon blowout and fire in April, oil executives, economists and local officials complained that the six-month moratorium would cost thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in lost revenue.
Yet the worst of those forecasts has failed to materialize, as companies wait to see how long the moratorium will last before making critical decisions on spending cuts and layoffs. Unemployment claims related to the oil industry along the Gulf Coast have been in the hundreds, not the thousands, and while oil production from the gulf is down because of the drilling halt, supplies from the region are expected to rebound in future years. Only 2 of the 33 deepwater rigs operating in the gulf before the BP rig exploded have left for other fields.

Good times in the Gulf, people! This spin is so thick here it reminds me of my April 9, 2010 post, where the NY Times declared that the recesssion was over: FRIDAY STUPID: “Why So Glum? Numbers Point to a Recovery” by NYT’s Floyd Norris.

Two of 33 deepwater rigs left? That means that 6% of the business has left for good.

There are several reasons the suspension has not cut as deeply as anticipated.

Oil companies used the enforced suspension to service and upgrade their drilling equipment, keeping shipyards and service companies busy. Drilling firms have kept most of their workers, knowing that if they let them go it will be hard to field experienced teams when the moratorium is lifted. Oil companies have shifted operations to onshore wells, saving industry jobs.

Hey, NY Times! Do you know what an idle rig and idle workers costs a company per day? Wanna report it in this article? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Mr. Bromwich’s boss, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, said the agency was “ahead of schedule” in drawing up new rules to allow drilling to resume and suggested that the moratorium could be eased as early as next month.

Why rush to end the moratorium if everything is going so well?

Oil companies continue to lobby for a lifting of the ban and warn that if it goes on much longer they will move their operations elsewhere. Yet they are hedging their bets by keeping crews and equipment on standby, expecting the pause to end well before the end of the year.

This is how the moratorium is working? Everyone is on standby for months?

Is this a news story or an editorial? Or Obama talking points propaganda on page one?

For another perspective, see this story from New Orleans City Business:

Federal drilling regulator pegs moratorium job losses at 23K
POSTED: 12:03 PM Saturday, August 21, 2010
BY: The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – A six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico would directly put more than 9,000 people out of work and indirectly affect another 14,000 jobs, according to a memo from the nation’s top drilling regulator.

From a NY Times reader comment:

August 25th, 2010
12:00 am
“The worst economic forecasts have failed to materialize…”

Oh my, how the Times bends over backwards to apologize for Obama’s jobs killing agenda. It’s bad, but hurray! it’s not as bad as the worst predictions.

Exactly. Another comment:

Arlington, VA
August 24th, 2010
11:59 pm
Only the New York Times would think that companies spending money to keep skilled employees on the payroll while they twiddle their fingers does not represent a serious economic loss.

These companies and their shareholders are loosing money every day as they pay for idle resources in the hope that they will be able to put them to work in the near future.

This is a winning GOP issue, and the NY Times and Obama both know it.