South Louisiana Open for Business, Roundtable Participants Agree (USA)

 

Saratoga Resources, Inc. today issued a summary report on the findings of the Energy Roundtable held at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana, on February 2, 2011. The roundtable addressed energy policy initiatives to promote growth in South Louisiana, the Transition Zone, and the shallow Gulf of Mexico and included twenty-five executive representatives from six oil and gas companies that are active producers in South Louisiana.

The roundtable session was followed by a reception for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal attended by over 120 oil and gas industry executives, representing exploration and production as well as service providers. Both events were organized and hosted by Saratoga Resources. The reception was co-hosted by Century Exploration, Energy XXI, Grand Isle Shipyards, Helis Oil and Gas Company and W&T Offshore.

Summary Report

On February 2, 2011, Saratoga Resources, Inc., with the assistance of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association and Greater New Orleans, Inc., organized and hosted an energy roundtable at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. Industry leaders from various sectors actively participated in the roundtable, including several independent oil and gas producers, banking officials, capital providers, the president of Plaquemines Parish, the president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, representatives from Greater New Orleans, Inc., representatives of the insurance sector, university representatives, and oil and gas attorneys. The theme of the roundtable was “Energy Policy Initiatives to Promote Growth in South Louisiana, the Transition Zone, and the Shallow Gulf of Mexico in the Current Regulatory Environment.” P.J. Goodwine, Esq. of Slattery, Marino & Roberts served as moderator of the roundtable.

The roundtable brought together a broad spectrum of industry participants to discuss and exchange ideas about pressing issues affecting the State of Louisiana, in general, and the energy industry specifically, in light of the federal government’s apparent continued moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and increasing regulatory oversight. The participants were unanimous in their view that the actions of the federal government over the past year had created uncertainty in the oil and gas industry, and that the uncertainty was affecting job growth in South Louisiana.

The roundtable’s principal objective was the discussion of ideas, opportunities and initiatives aimed at encouraging capital investment and job growth in the region’s energy industry. Roundtable participants agreed that each of the interested constituencies needed to act in a cooperative manner to create an operating environment that communicates that Louisiana is “open for business” and that oil and gas production in South Louisiana is a sound and attractive investment. The discussion focused on these issues and ways that industry, State officials, and parish governments could collectively help each other and simultaneously protect and enhance production in South Louisiana. The primary suggestions included:

* Make regulations stable and consistent in Louisiana; don’t change them every few years; need to counter the perception that the State regulations will be as punitive as the current federal trend;

* Develop revenue-neutral solutions from the State’s perspective; budgetary issues and political realities in Baton Rouge need to be respected and government officials need to realize that solutions sought could create revenue enhancement;

* Have State officials publicly articulate through the bully pulpit their intent to refrain from over-regulating in response to the BP oil spill;

* Reduce royalty and tax burdens on producers, maintain current royalty and severance tax incentives, and implement additional revenue-neutral drilling incentives (examples suggested include deep gas and shallow gas incentives, and a graduated system based on depth of well to be drilled, and apply such incentives to new and existing leases);

* Re-examine the implications associated with produced water disposal in certain coastal waters located in open seas and, if necessary, encourage the EPA to work with the State officials to fashion a “middle ground” solution;

* Streamline the permitting process for well activities, especially where re-entering existing bore holes;

* Take steps to discourage lawsuits against oil and gas producers for severance and ad valorem taxes, coastal land issues, and for remediation and restoration of onshore properties (“legacy lawsuits”);

* Organize a roundtable for bankers and capital providers to educate the capital markets on South Louisiana opportunities and to directly address any concerns associated with oil and gas investing in South Louisiana; and

* Minimize the perception of risk, political and other risk, so that the financial sector will more aggressively provide capital to companies doing business in South Louisiana.

At the end of the roundtable, all participants agreed to begin the process to encourage State and parish officials to take cooperative action, through the bully pulpit and through regulation of the industry, to (i) promote certainty for the industry on a going-forward basis, (ii) demonstrate that regulation of the industry will be done fairly and consistently, and (iii) mitigate the growing litigious reputation of the State. The roundtable believes that such action by the State would aid in the efforts that both industry and the State need to pursue to ensure that South Louisiana is truly open for business.

About Saratoga Resources

Saratoga Resources, Inc. is an independent exploration and production company with offices in Houston, Texas and Covington, Louisiana. Principal holdings cover 33,869 gross (31,125 net) acres, mostly held-by-production, located in the transitional coastline and protected in-bay environment on parish and state leases of south Louisiana. Saratoga’s stock currently trades on the OTCQB marketplace under the symbol “SROE”.

 

Source:PRnewswire, March  8, 2011;

 

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