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The oil and gas industry is not only critical to Louisiana but to the entire United States from an energy supply perspective and its contribution to the U.S. gross domestic product. In our immediate area, it serves to provide valuable employment either directly within the industry or indirectly through offshore equipment and services companies. Our economic survival is directly correlated to the rise and fall of the oil and gas industry. September’s Oil and Gas Issue explores some of the local ways our area supports the industry.

Port Fourchon serves as a base of operations for more than 250 companies who are all centered on the oil and gas industry. The huge operation serves as a reminder of the dependency our area has on the oil and gas industry – as prices soar, the Port is busy. But as prices dip, the impact can be quite dramatic.

A little further north lays the Port of Terrebonne, primed and ready with plans to attract and keep businesses. Its location places the Port in a strategic position to take advantage of marine traffic on both the Houma Navigation Canal and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Great strides are being made to dredge the HNC beyond the registered 15-feet navigable.

Beyond our waterways, a safe passageway to and from our Ports is vital. The LA 1 Coalition seeks to protect La. Highway 1 from erosion and flooding. While progress has been made with the Leeville Toll Bridge Overpass, much work still needs to be completed to keep the one road to Fourchon safe and above water.

Believe it or not, more than 12 billion barrels of crude oil have passed through the Bayou Region over the last three and a half decades. The largest point of entry for waterborne crude oil coming into the U.S. is south of Lafourche Parish at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, or LOOP. It is the largest privately owned and operated crude oil repository in the nation.

The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA) represents the independent and service sectors of the oil and gas industry in Louisiana. This year, LOGA welcomed a new president, Gifford Briggs, eager to meet challenges with his own fresh ideas. He shares with our readers his plan to bring the industry’s message to the public and our lawmakers.

Education is key when it comes to advancing in industry. Nicholls State University offers a unique program to help those working in the oil and gas industry. The Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management (PETSM) program allows students to continue working their on-off rotations and earn associates or bachelors degrees.

The recent downturn proved exactly how vital the oil and gas industry is to our economy. Everything is tied together in a tangled web of dependency. But as rig counts stay stagnant, service companies are learning how to improvise and turn their eye towards business outside the Gulf of Mexico. Experts say recovery for some might be slow, but the ability to adapt will be the key to success. Everyone in our area is related to the oilfield in some way. In this issue, we explore the state of the industry locally and what our neighbors are doing to help ensure our economic success in the years to come.

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