By: Maria Bolanos, Trade Advisor - Energy French Trade Office

Although the Deepwater Horizon incident is a tragedy, it has opened the door to an enormous set of questions regarding oil spill response and the future of safety and preventive options for oil & gas exploration and production. The “French Delegation for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill clean-up” traveled to the US to offer their products, services and expertise both onshore and offshore, late in the game it seems, but we have actually planned it this way. Now that the emergency status of the incident in the Gulf of Mexico has passed, we considered that, oil & gas companies are beginning to take a step back and see the problems of a situation such as the ones encountered in the oil spill on the Gulf. This has become a planning stage for the sector. The oil & gas industry will have to reevaluate emergency response procedures and readjust their needs according to new and stricter regulations to come, or so it has been suggested by oil & gas experts. Therefore, meetings were scheduled with oil & gas companies and engineering firms because these companies now have the opportunity to assess the products and services presented to them, consider their potential and hopefully integrate them to their own contingency plans.

It must be pointed out however, that the delegation has followed the Deepwater Horizon incident from the very beginning. All of its members submitted their individual proposals to BP via their online webpage. Furthermore, a common proposal was made collectively, thus the delegations catalog sites the Gulf of Mexico as the suggested target for its offer. If an oil spill, whether offshore or on land should repeat, Deepwater Horizon has taught us that the economic impact on a community is a major concern when considering clean-up services and crews .Local industries and businesses are sought out in a first response situation and, as we are now seeing, even in long term remedial treatment of land or sea. US companies will be used for the job over foreign help to bring back an economic relief to the community affected by a spill. Consequently, when the delegation traveled to New Orleans, a conference was held to showcase the products and services to US companies whose trade is oil spill clean-up. Here the objective of the delegation was to seek out national distributors and US partners for business ventures. Thus, now that the delegation has had its meetings and its conference, we feel confident that the delegation’s objectives were fulfilled and that we have left a good impression. This delegation has first and foremost experience and their products and services have been tested and proven to be a success in oil spill clean-up. We hope that in our next mission our delegation will be as welcome as this one was, and that we will have the same outcome, a successful mission with new business opportunities for our members and our US counterparts.