The Louisiana Oil & Gas Association (LOGA) was started in 1992 to represent the independent and service sectors of the oil and gas industry in Louisiana. The service sectors of the industry represented by LOGA include exploration, production and oilfield services. The main goal of LOGA is to provide their membership with a working environment conducive to industry growth. The association does this by warding off tax hikes, helping to change regulations that are a burden to the industry, and providing education to the public and government.
Don G. Briggs, President of LOGA graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and has been an oil man since his career started. Briggs started LOGA with a group of like-minded individuals in the oil and gas industry, after the dissolution of a previous association which was meant to serve the industry. Originally Briggs wasn’t supposed to take the lead role for more than the time it took to get LOGA up and running – say two or three months. But here it is, 2009, and he is more involved in the association’s initiatives than ever before.
ABOUT 1868 — The Louisiana Oil and Coal Company drilled a well about 15 miles west of Lake Charles in search of oil but was unsuccessful although it did reveal very extensive sulfur deposits.
1870 — A night watchman at an ice plant in Shreveport accidentally discovered natural gas emanating from a well drilled in search of artesian water when he struck a match. Gas from the well was piped to the plant to provide illumination–the first use in the state of the fuel that today heats the vast majority of Louisiana homes and places of business.
Sept. 21, 1901 — The Heywood well six miles from Jennings was brought in, producing the first oil discovered in the state in commercial quantities and marking what is recognized as the birth of the industry in the state..
1908 — The first natural gas pipeline was laid in Louisiana. It brought gas from the Caddo Field to Shreveport.
1909 — The new refinery in Baton Rouge (which is the Exxon refinery of today) went on stream. Today it is, in terms of capacity, among the largest oil refineries on the North American continent. This is also the year in which construction began on Louisiana’s first long-distance oil pipeline, which by 1910 was transporting crude oil from Caddo Parish to the Baton Rouge refinery
ABOUT 1910 — The first over-water drilling in America occurred on Caddo Lake near Shreveport.
1913 — A major discovery occurred in Northwest Louisiana when the Bull Bayou Field was brought in.
1916 — The well resulting in the discovery of the Monroe Gas Field was brought in.
1921 — The prolific Haynesville Gas Field was discovered.
1940 — The oil and gas industry came to Central Louisiana in a big way with the discovery of the Olla Field in LaSalle Parish.
1942 — The Lake St. John Field on the eastern border of Louisiana was discovered.
Nov. 14, 1947 — The first oil well out of sight of land was brought in by Kerr- McGee in the Gulf of Mexico about 45 miles south of Morgan City in the Ship Shoal Block 32 Field, marking the birth of the offshore oil and gas industry.
1948 — The Main Pass Field came in near the mouth of the Mississippi River.
1949 — Three major fields were discovered in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast. They were the Eugene Island, Bay Marchand and Vermillion Fields.
1954 — The western boundary of Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas industry was established with discovery of the West Cameron Field.
1975 — Gerald R. Ford became the first President of the United States to visit an offshore oil platform when he came to Louisiana on April 23. His comment: “We just have to get more and more of these.”
1982 — Lease and royalty income paid by the oil and gas industry to the state of Louisiana soared to an alltime record $624,529,812.
1988 — Bullwinkle, the world’s tallest man-made offshore structure, was launched May 21, 1988 by Shell Offshore, Inc. Bullwinkle carried a $500 million price tag and is locate approximately 150 miles south of New Orleans.
1989 — The first tension well leg platform was installed by Conoco in the Gulf of Mexico with production from the platform beginning November 8. The platform floats on the surface of the water and is connected to a foundation template on the sea floor by tubular steel tendons. The platform was placed in 1,760 feet of water, about 170 miles southwest of New Orleans in the Jolliet Field.
1991 — The search for oil goes further offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Shell Oil made a deepwater discovery in about 3,100 feet of water, about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. BP Exploration held an interest in the project. A short time later a second deepwater discovery was announced by Exxon and its project partner Conoco.
1992 — Oklahoma adopts a natural gas proration statute. Louisiana holds public hearings on the issue, but does not adopt any statute or regulations
1993 — The Louisiana Legislature, with the support of the Louisiana oil and gas industry, adopts legislation aimed at addressing the issue of orphaned or abandoned wells. The legislation established a fee on all oil and gas produced in the state and provided for a method of establishing voluntary trust funds for each well that would follow the well each time it is sold and be available to cover the cost of properly closing and abandoning the well when it was no longer productive.
1993 — The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association conducts the first of its kind study regarding the economic impacts of the offshore oil and gas industry. The study Impacts showed that the offshore industry has a positive economic impact on the state of more than $3 billion each year.
1996 — After more than a decade of depressed prices and activity, the oil and gas industry began to see a rebound. New drilling activity in the Gulf of Mexico spurred on by the development of new technology and the overall worldwide demand for oil gave a new push to Louisiana oil and gas production.
1997 — Record-breaking lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly $1 billion exposed as bids by companies seeking to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, proving that the Gulf of Mexico is not a “dead sea.”
1997 — Louisiana prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of offshore oil and gas exploration and production. The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association celebrates its 75th anniversary as a trade association and pays tribute to the industry’s “Remarkable Past and its Exciting Future.”
1998 — A new round of mergers began. BP purchased Amoco, Kerr- McGee purchased Oryx. Exxon and Mobil agreed to a merger that formed the largest company in the United States. Other companies combined downstream operations. New rounds of employee layoffs and consolidations also began.
2001 — Louisiana celebrates the 100th anniversary of the oil industry in the state.
2007 — For the first time, 15 rigs are drilling for oil and gas in 5,000 feet of water or greater in the Gulf, the U.S. Minerals Management Service announces. “The continued increase in drilling activity is a show of confidence in the resource potential of the Gulf’s ultra-deepwater frontier,” agency Director Randall Luthi says.
Briggs spoke to the IRJ about the issues in Louisiana, and gave us a rundown of LOGA’s goals for the next year or so. “One of the biggest issues that we have in Louisiana, and it filters through into the oil and gas industry, is the litigious system” he explained.
Louisiana has the unfortunate problem of “legacy lawsuits” where the industry has to deal with legal problems and lawsuits stemming back “all the way to the early 1900s” according to Briggs. This impedes progress in the Louisiana oil industry – forcing companies to deal with old problems in a new business landscape.
“There is a lot of home cooking in our courts in Louisiana. It’s unfortunate. But because of that doing business here is something that a lot of oil men won’t do any longer: we still have a legal climate that hinders companies, scares them off. Oil executives will come to me and say ‘I’ve got eight lawsuits against me – I wouldn’t drill another well in Louisiana if my life depended on it’.
That’s the problem: you live in Louisiana and you pay high.” On top of the legal roadblocks, there comes the issue of oil prices. When prices go up, drills should be drilled – but if there are legal issues, the resource isn’t taken advantage of when it should.
Briggs says that in north Louisiana, there is an oil boom, but in the south, Louisiana is experiencing unprecedented lows.
“There is a migration away from conventional drilling wells in this industry. This is part of the lows in the south – conventional drilling deals or projects are high risk because of geological structures” he explains. “In the north the sands and shells are laid on top of each other like blankets – so your risk is minimal – costly, but minimal.”
However, Louisiana Governer Jindal’s administration is well aware of the value of the oil and gas industry in Louisiana, which is seen as a huge plus for businesses focused on oil. The permitting system has also been improved. In addition, state representatives are starting to see how important the industry is to creating jobs.
The industry’s importance to the state
“Every time you drill you create jobs: 180-200 people are directly employed for every rig dilled. That is a direct impact in the workforce” Briggs reasons.
Although the state is doing its share to develop incentives for development, things are still tough – as Briggs puts it: “you can’t do much about oil prices”. He adds that companies in the state are holding off laying staff until things level out. One thing is certain – LOGA is there for its members and has an open communication network that has helped tremendously in tough times. “We have a tremendous network of oil facilities. Louisiana is up at the top in the industry with Texas and Oklahoma – new companies coming into Louisiana can come in and do very well” Briggs insists.
“Overall, although we do have our issues, we have a very friendly environment to do usiness.” For more information about LOGA, visit www.loga.la.