According to The Times-Picayune companies suffered some confusion on Tuesday as the Interior Department’s 4 p.m. deadline for deepwater drilling shutdown plans neared. Last Thursday, President Barack Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a six-month freeze on exploratory drilling in the deepwater regions of the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Alaska. The announcement originally specified deepwater projects. In all, the moratorium is expected to impact at least 33 operators in the GoM. However, a separate notice filed late Sunday night by the Mineral Management Service implied that the ban could be expanded to more rigs. The MMS notice stated that the order applied to all rigs in more than 500 ft of water without any mention of any type (namely jack-up versus floating drillships). The Time-Picayune article stated, “The notice puts a moratorium on new drilling permits for six months, but it does not put a time limit on the deepwater drilling hiatus.” An Obama administration official was quoted as saying, “The moratorium on deepwater drilling is ‘only’ for six months. It does not affect shallow water drilling and does not affect ongoing production,” the administration official said. According the Times-Picayune, “The Interior Department has refused to issue a list of the 33 deepwater operations that will be affected, saying that the information is proprietary.” Although, the story reports an in depth list of companies that will most likely be affected by the stoppage. It appears that the current move to incur public support for the recovery effort in the GoM will do so at the cost of a recently recovered oil industry. While much of the mainstream media has focused on the plight of the fishing industry within the past month, no one seems to pay much attention to the nearly 8,000 (good paying) jobs that will be lost as a result of the moratorium. This is in addition to the nearly $3 billion lost to idle rigs taken out of service. Industry proponents are unsure of the long term effects of the moratorium. If the period is set at a definite six months, drilling companies may be willing to wait it out. However, is the term is left to further determination with no end in sight; these rigs may be taken abroad to foreign offshore plays. This could make these drillships unavailable for up to two years. According to The Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, each offshore oilfield job is estimated to create four other jobs. With these workers displaced and with the fishing industry at bay, Louisiana—the state worst affected by the spill—may find itself in a dire economic situation. For a full version of the original story visit