October 14 - Following this week's end of the federal moratorium on deepwater drilling, companies that are helping the industry meet new regulations are scrambling to keep up with increased business while oil-rig workers must remain idle until the new req

Welcoming Tuesday's announcement by the White House to the lift the ban on deepwater drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico, the Offshore Marine Service Association has called for permits to be issued immediately so work can resume.

OMSA said the moratorium has idled more than 12,000 American jobs and has forced US offshore vessels to leave the Gulf for oil exploration in other parts of the world.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the European Commission says that European governments should ban new deepwater drilling projects if there are any doubts about their safety. EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has told EU governments to be rigorous in licensing "new, complex" offshore drilling operations, urging governments to see if a consider whether a license should be issued and announcing a major revamp of offshore drilling safety in Europe, including much stricter inspections of oil and gas platforms.

The development in Europe is seen by some as the European Commission pulling back on original plans to impose a moratorium on deepwater drilling. Responding to the European Commission's calls for Member States to consider a suspension of licensing until European offshore safety regimes have been assessed, and for new EU prescribed safety standards, Malcolm WebbOil & Gas UK's chief executive, said: "Oil & Gas UK is extremely concerned that, once again, the EU Commission is calling for a suspension of new licensing, a measure that is wholly unjustified and inappropriate for the UK offshore oil and gas industry. It is also deeply worrying that in addition, it now proposes to implement centralised and prescriptive safety regulation. In our opinion, this would undermine the advanced and highly sophisticated regulatory regimes currently working so well, for example in the United Kingdom, Norway and the Netherlands, each of these being global exemplars of which Europe should be proud."