- Download the 1996List of Officers (PDF document).
For the past several years, the National Ocean Industries Association has engaged in a renewal process to enhance our industry's effectiveness and strengthen our partnership with NOIA members. We have defined strategies throughout the offshore industries, building on our two overarching strategic themes - access and economics.
The year 1995 marked a milestone for the offshore industries, and our achievements provided a positive indication that our strategic direction is correctly aligned with industry's long-term objectives - identifying opportunities, increasing development, and maximizing returns.
Not only did the NOIA experience tremendous growth in membership in 1995, but the offshore industries accomplished remarkable feats on Capitol Hill during a political year of unprecedented change as the GOP took control of Congress. NOIA's focus and discipline in addressing industry's most pressing needs have resulted in a more solid foundation for industry growth and opportunity as our country approaches the millennium.
NOIA achieved impressive gains in 1995. A few highlights deserve mention:
- NOIA helped build and sustain a solid lobbying effort to support the triumphant 1995 campaign to enact the deep water royalty relief legislation, authored by Senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-La.). NOIA was successful due to a coordinated effort with its allied trade groups to build support for the legislation among members of Congress, the administration, the media, and other policy makers and influences.
- NOIA recorded significant progress toward the industry's goal of an improved regulatory environment - working with the Minerals Management Service to replace highly prescriptive rules and regulations with performance-based approaches; to weed out duplicative requirements; and to eliminate inconsistency from the regulatory process. The association started what promises to be a productive and continuing dialogue with the MMS on how to improve the regulatory process in many areas.
- As increasing numbers of member companies continue to restructure their operations, NOIA has organized itself to reflect that reality. By relying more heavily on a smaller staff and making major improvements in efficiency of its operations, the association's reserve funds increased by more than 15% in 1995. NOIA is a lean organization, but obviously a productive and better focused organization as a result.
- Recognizing the problems industry would encounter if the Minerals Management Service was eliminated, as proposed by the Clinton Administration, NOIA positioned itself as a catalyst for industry support to defeat the proposal. Meetings with members of Congress and congressional staff ensued; letters of opposition were generated and directed to the administration; and legislation was sought to give the MMS a statutory basis. In the end, industry prevailed and the proposal was withdrawn.
NOIA's success in 1995 amply validates industry's conviction that gaining greater access to the nation's hydrocarbon resources and improving the economic climate for NOIA members to do business in the US are essential to achieve industry's priority goals and objectives. Behind each NOIA advisory committee, working group, or other forum, access and economics served as the driving force behind the agenda. Access and economics were the focal points in NOIA discussions on policy issues, establishing clear industry-wide goals, and providing the NOIA staff the guidance and authority necessary to achieve these goals.
In a very real sense, these achievements are not solely NOIA's achievements. They are the industry's achievements. And with your continued support and involvement, this following report is but a sign of many good things to come.
Nathan M. Avery
Chairman, President & CEO
DEEP WATER ROYALTY RELIEF - A CATALYST FOR IMPROVEMENT
History was made this year for the offshore industries when President Clinton signed into law in November a bill that would, among other things, provide for deep water royalty relief. The legislation creates a royalty holiday for deep water projects in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico and defines "deep water" as 200 meters or deeper.
The object of the legislation is to make investment in deep water projects more attractive. What made this legislative victory so remarkable was the dramatic turnaround by members of Congress that many in the industry believe has no precedent.
In May, the deep water incentives proposal was adopted by unanimous vote in the Senate as an amendment to a bill clearing the way for export of Alaska North Slope (ANS) crude oil. In July, during floor consideration in the House of a companion ANS bill, the opposition moved to instruct House conferees not to include the deep water provision in the final version of the ANS bill.
The non-binding motion passed by a vote of 261 to 161. Critics called the amendment "corporate welfare," a give-away to the oil industry, a government subsidy. The opposition had launched a major operation to spread misinformation on the impacts of the deepwater legislation and discredit the industry.
Though industry had been successful in the Senate, the odds of securing passage of the deep water amendment in the House appeared slim after the July vote. Not to be discouraged, Senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-La.), the architect of the deep water legislation, and his dedicated staff, continued the fight. Under his leadership, NOIA, its allied trade associations and industry's Washington representatives, joined forces under the auspices of the OCS Royalty Incentives Task Force. The alliance ultimately included a small army of individuals in Washington working nonstop to educate House members on the merits of the deep water amendment.
NOIA members quickly followed suit and rallied behind the massive lobbying effort heating up in Washington. The most immediate concern was communicating with key constituencies: the Republican House leadership, government officials, public opinion leaders, and the news media. NOIA's Washington Report newsletter and grass roots network, the Domestic Energy Advocates, provided NOIA members with a continuous flow of necessary information to lobby the issue effectively through letters, phone calls and meetings with congressional offices and the media. Task force spokespeople, written materials, and fax alerts directed at Congress explained and reinforced the message that deep water royalty relief would enhance economic and energy security, boost needed domestic production, increase federal revenues, and create jobs nationwide.
The message hit home. With the pivotal vote in November, the House soundly defeated a second motion by the opposition to send the ANS bill back to conference for elimination of the deepwater provisions. The vote tally on the motion was 261 in opposition and 160 in favor, showing a 100% turnaround from where industry found itself in July.
Remarkably, many members of Congress who had historically opposed offshore energy development rose against the high tide of the anti-oil drilling sentiment and voted down the opposition's motion. NOIA and its members targeted many of these congressional offices and stressed the benefits OCS activity could bring to their districts.
NOIA's support for deep water royalty relief dates back to 1992 when Sen. Johnston introduced the legislation and NOIA President Bob Steward and NOIA member executives from Marathon and Shell testified before the Senate Energy Committee. Speaking on the importance of deep water projects to all producers, NOIA testified that both large and small producers would potentially benefit from a financial incentive designed to stimulate interest in deepwater projects.
In late December, the Minerals Management Service issued a set of interim guidelines to assist the industry in the preparation of deep water royalty relief requests and MMS' evaluation of those requests. In 1996, NOIA will be working closely with the Minerals Management Service to assist with the implementation of the royalty relief regulations.
DEFEATING THE MMS
The livelihood and well-being of NOIA member companies depend in varying degrees on the successful operation by the Minerals Management Service of the offshore program. Currently, there are well over 3,000 structures in the Gulf of Mexico that account for 30% of US natural gas supply and 12% of US domestic oil production. In the absence of the stable, consistent and predictable regulatory climate that has been the hallmark of MMS management of the offshore oil and gas program, the activity level in the Gulf would not he possible.
So, when the Clinton Administration unveiled a proposal in late March to eliminate the agency and transfer its offshore minerals management duties elsewhere in the Department of the Interior (DOI), NOIA was quick to lay the groundwork for industry's campaign to defeat the proposal. At its annual meeting In April, NOIA's Board of Directors adopted a resolution calling on Congress to intercede and take whatever steps were necessary to retain MMS as the management agency for the offshore program.
Senate Energy Committee Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska)and House Resources Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R.-Calif.), both of whom spoke out against the proposal during NOIA's April 1995 meeting, worked closely with NOIA and industry to generate opposition to the proposal in Congress. In the weeks to come, more meetings were held with members of Congress and congressional staff; letters of opposition and individual meetings were directed to the Secretary and Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management. NOIA supported a resolution adopted by DOI's OCS Policy Committee objecting to the proposal to eliminate MMS. NOIA also sought the introduction of legislation to give MMS a statutory basis, rather than the administrative basis on which the agency was originally created.
In early August, DOI announced that it was withdrawing the proposal in response to the objections of the agency's constituents. Sen. Murkowski, who introduced legislation earlier in the year to make MMS a permanent agency, said the decision was a "victory for common sense."
NOIA continues to believe in the need to make government smaller and more efficient, given this country's limited resources. However, in the final analysis of the administration's proposal, NOIA concluded that no other agency or agencies was capable of doing a better job of managing the offshore program and collecting the revenues it generates. Nor would NOIA members stand to gain in future OCS exploration and production activities if the program was in the hands of a bureau or agency that lacked the focus and priority that MMS puts on the offshore program.
THE DEBATE ON
NOIA's two year effort to maintain area-wide leasing culminated in March with the announcement by MMS Director Cynthia Quarterman to continue holding annual area-wide lease sales in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico. The announcement brought to a close a nearly two year-long deliberation on the issue of tract nomination versus area-wide leasing. Since it was instituted in 1983, area-wide leasing has fostered robust competition in the Gulf due to the program's consistency and predictability.
The issue first surfaced in 1993 at a NOIA regional meeting when MMS announced to NOIA members that the new leadership at the Department of the Interior would be reviewing leasing practices. The MMS statement provoked a strong reaction from NOIA members, and shortly after, NOIA began organizing briefings with MMS department heads, regional policy personnel, and members of the OCS Policy Committee. NOIA's Leasing Advisory Group, created to manage the issue, helped develop a reply to MMS and a lease sale simulation to demonstrate to MMS the time, effort, expense, and anguish involved in preparing for a lease sale.
NOIA's leadership in the discussions with MMS ultimately proved successful. In her announcement, Quarterman cited NOIA's briefings, comments, and use of its lease sale simulation as significant contributions that helped MMS bring the matter to a conclusion.
Through its Regulatory Reform Task Force, NOIA is helping spur reform in MMS' approach to regulating the offshore industries - from the old-style prescriptive method to the more flexible and effective performance-based approach. In a research paper prepared this year by the task force and in discussions held with MMS on downhole commingling, NOIA suggested that MMS should focus more attention on the feasibility of a commingling prospect from a geologic/reservoir management perspective.
In April, MMS announced in a letter to operators a change in policy regarding the regulation. Under MMS' new policy, the agency focus on the issue of maximizing ultimate recovery and preventing waste of natural resources. The agency has "moved away from specific reserve limits as a primary criterion for action upon downhole commingling requests." The letter set out specific technical considerations on which it will concentrate its review of theses requests in the future.
Downhole commingling was one of four sections of the MMS operating regulations in Title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 250 the task force had focused its efforts on. Other issues involved in the "suspension of production" and the "effect of production, drilling, or well-reworking on lease term" are being worked on by MMS and appear to be moving toward objectives sought by NOIA.
MORATORIA ON THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF
Since 1982, Congress has adopted a series of increasingly restrictive measures that have the effect of denying the nation and the petroleum industry access to much of the potentially vast hydrocarbon resources of the OCS. This year, for the first time in more than a decade, the offshore industries gained some ground.
In June, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee passed a bill that was free of the various OCS moratoria which have been routinely tacked onto the annual funding bill for the Department of the Interior. In years past, the subcommittee was presented with a bill containing leasing. pre-leasing, and in some cases, drilling moratorium language.
NOIA led an industry group that lobbied strenuously for elimination of the moratorium provisions. At the grassroots level, NOIA members rose to the occasion with letters and phone calls. In May, NOIA participated in a press conference at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston to deliver industry's message to the media regarding the necessity of increasing offshore production domestically.
While NOIA was successful at the subcommittee level, the decision was ultimately reversed when the issue was considered by the full committee. In 1996, NOIA will be laying the groundwork for an aggressive campaign in the years ahead to build awareness of the need for a new OCS access policy; to generate the congressional support necessary to remove the imposed legislative restrictions; and to correct the public's misperceptions about the offshore oil and gas industry. The goal: to expand OCS lease sales into new promising areas not available in the current 5-Year Leasing Plan for 1997-2002.
OIL POLLUTION ACT
In 1995, NOIA and its allied trade organizations succeeded in gaining passage of amendments to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) in both the House and the Senate. While the amendments are aimed at making it possible to enforce the act without driving operators and others out of the offshore oil and gas business, the senate's amendments differ significantly from those passed in the House earlier in the year.
Both the House and Senate language reduce the $150 million Certificate of Financial Responsibility requirement and provide a de minimis exemption that removes the potential for imposing an unjustifiably heavy burden on operators who present minimal environmental risk. However, the Senate language does not clearly define the geographic scope of the law, nor does it deal with OPA's direct action provision; the House language successfully addresses both.
Making needed corrections to OPA' 90 will continue to be a priority issue for NOIA in 1996. The National Ocean Industries Association, working through an industry coalition, will seek to achieve conference language that closely resembles the House-passed measure.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
With a new Congress more receptive to proposals featuring less government, reduced federal expenditures and increased private sector involvement, NOIA intensified its efforts this year to push for the privatization of certain program elements of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Two key program elements addressed by NOIA as being ripe for privatization were the acquisition of nautical charting data and the operation of NOAA' s research fleet.
The outmoded condition and the increasing operational and maintenance costs associated with NOAA's fleet of oceanographic vessels is a strong endorsement for change. Virtually all of NOAA's vessels were built with 1960s technology to satisfy specific objectives of that era. Since that time there has been a dramatic evolution, lead in-part by the ocean industries, in the technological and operational demands that often cannot be met by the present generation of NOAA's vessels.
In a similar vein, the nautical charting program of NOAA has been unable to acquire the bathymetric data necessary to meet the maritime community's growing demand for nautical charting data and products. Many NOAA charts were created with pre-World War II technologies. With roughly 43,000 miles of US coastline to survey and the limited federal capability and technology to survey roughly 1,000 miles of coastline per year, NOAA is finding itself in an increasingly difficult situation to meet the needs of its constituents.
Because the offshore industries possess the oceanographic and hydrographic technologies and expertise necessary to operate ocean going fleets and expedite the collection of data at greatly reduced cost to taxpayers, NOIA believes the greatest opportunities for improvement are through private sector involvement. Throughout the year, NOIA corresponded with members of both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and the Senate Commerce and House Resources Committees, encouraging a greater reliance on the private sector to fulfill NOAA's missions and mandates.
NOIA distributed a position paper in March that was well received and was reflected in both chamber's consideration of NOAA's FY'96 spending bills. NOIA recommended that the federal government be directed to utilize the resources of the private sector in meeting its nautical surveying and charting functions and to conduct its vessel operations. Privatization of these functions is both time and cost effective and would be beneficial to the government and private industry.
GAINING A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
The movement on Capitol Hill related to telecommunications reform provided NOIA members an opportunity to change antiquated vessel manning and equipment carriage provisions that were keeping US vessel operators at a competitive disadvantage with international operators.
Since 1934, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has required US flagged vessels to maintain a continuous Morse radiotelegraphy listening watch. This dated technology carriage and manning requirement had remained in effect even though a new satellite emergency system, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), was adopted by the world maritime community in 1988. Of concern to NOIA vessel operators was the fact that the FCC had not modified its regulations, but continued to require vessels to meet the new GMDSS requirements, in addition to the dated Morse radiotelegraphy and radio officer carriage requirements.
NOIA held discussions early in the 104th Congress with members and staff from both the House and Senate telecommunications subcommittees to seek corrections to the FCC regulations. NOIA also advanced the issue during the regulatory reform debate as one that reflects a technological advancement in maritime safety that has out-paced and supplanted the need for obsolete regulations.
Late in 1995, both houses of Congress agreed on an omnibus telecommunications reform bill. That measure contained the NOIA advanced provisions which repeal the equipment carriage and manning requirements of the Communications Act of l934. With the enactment of the bill, US vessel operators are free from a federally imposed competitive disadvantage that has been in place for over 60 years and a requirement that in today's maritime environment is technologically obsolete.
USING TECHNOLOGY TO ACHIEVE ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE
NOIA supports the administration's strong interest in encouraging development of new technologies for environmental management. In May, a NOIA-facilitated industry effort provided formal comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the use and regulatory treatment of synthetic-based muds (SBM) drilling fluids.
Synthetic-based muds are an improvement in technology where the discharge of muds and cuttings from conventional oil-based muds are prohibited and water-based muds cannot be used effectively. SBM yields drilling performances similar to, or better than, that of conventional oil-based fluids with improved environmental performance.
NOIA's comments were received favorably, and EPA has indicated its intention to issue a formal notice of clarification and guidance to its permit writers regarding the discharge of drill cuttings when using synthetic fluids. Underway since late 1993, NOIA's industry-wide effort involves more than 30 operators and mud companies.
OTHER ISSUES RUN
A GAMUT OF CONCERNS:
NOIA also continued to strive for reasonable government policies on other regulatory and legislative fronts this year. For example:
- In response to a request from the Department of Transportation and the Minerals Management Service for input on regulatory jurisdiction over pipelines, NOIA made recommendations to support proposals to enhance offshore safety, provided the costs associated with proposals are reasonable.
- To simplify and make more equitable the system under which the federal government collects royalties on oil and natural gas production on federal lands. NOIA has been working with a coalition of petroleum industry trade associations to craft and seek adoption of the Royalty Simplification and Fairness Act.
- In response to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposal to add offshore oil and gas extraction facilities to its Toxics Release Inventory program, NOIA has been working with a coalition of trade groups and members of Congress to seek relief from EPA's costly bureaucratic reporting and record keeping requirements.
- To address the growing issues surrounding offshore lease abandonment and platform disposal, NOIA is serving on a steering committee that will examine the issue and conduct a workshop with stakeholders. The workshop summary will be used by the Minerals Management Service and others to design or evaluate policies to address these issues.
- In response to a request from the Minerals Management Service for input on its proposed 5-Year Leasing Plan for 1997-2002, NOIA made extensive recommendations suggesting the agency look beyond the non-controversial areas such as the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico, and consider allowing the program to grow into locations that offer greater opportunities. NOIA also encouraged consensus-building approaches with localities near possible offshore drilling sites.
NOIA makes sure that its member companies' viewpoints on offshore issues are represented before the Congress, federal officials, and agencies through its grassroots network, the Domestic Energy Advocates.
Instituted in 1993, NOIA's Domestic Energy Advocates are called to action by the association on a broad range of issues and serve as a valuable clearinghouse of information and materials for NOIA members to lobby effectively from the home front.
IN MEMBER COMPANIES
The Domestic Energy Advocates (DEA) had a year of progress on critical legislation in the first session of the 104th Congress. For example:
- Deep Water Royalty Relief
In September, NOIA mobilized DEA to respond to industry's "Call to Action" on the deep water royalty relief legislation. The effort included an integrated communications program featuring a regular flow of information to update the industry, opinion leaders, and the media on significant elements of the legislation that were being misrepresented by the opposition. The grassroots initiative was geared toward developing support for industry's effort in key congressional districts. DEA played a key role in getting industry's critical message through to congressional members and staff: royalty relief would create jobs nation-wide and generate more revenue for the US Treasury at absolutely no cost to the US taxpayer.
- MMS Devolution Proposal
On another front, the grassroots network helped industry defeat the administration' s proposal to eliminate the Minerals Management Service. DEA's communications and outreach activities helped the administration understand that a consistent and predictable regulatory environment is essential to ensure a successful offshore program. The agency's sharp focus on offshore energy production and its institutional knowledge were cited as significant contributions to effective management of the offshore program. DEA argued the difficulty in duplicating these essential components elsewhere in the Department of the Interior.
- OCS Moratoria
DEA continued its active support for elimination of moratorium provisions that have routinely been tacked on in years past to the annual funding bill for the US Department of the Interior. While grassroots efforts proved helpful to industry at the subcommittee level in the House Appropriations Committee, the decision was reversed when the issue was considered by the full committee. DEA will continue to use every available forum to advocate more sensible policies regarding access to federal acreage offshore for oil and natural gas exploration and development.
- Regulatory Reform
Regarding DEA's longest-standing priority - regulatory reform - good legislation advanced and could be enacted in 1996. This year DEA participated in a 2,600-member coalition called the Alliance for Reasonable Regulation, whose members represent more than half of the nation's jobs. The national coalition worked continuously throughout the year for a smarter system that routinely applies sound science and risk assessment to all major regulations.
The NOIA-backed regulatory reform bill cleared the House 286 to 141 in the spring. But in July, a similar Senate bill was blocked by most Senate Democrats in a filibuster orchestrated by the White House. Coalition efforts to modernize the nation's outdated regulatory system included press conferences, testimony, position papers, and lobbying on Capitol Hill and in congressional districts.
In 1996, proponents are considering tactics that include incremental regulatory reform vehicles. DEA will work in the year ahead to ensure that regulatory reform assumes a prominent place on the congressional agenda, despite the obstacles associated with presidential election year politics.
MISPERCEPTIONS AND MAINTAINING PUBLIC TRUST
For years, industry has been working to dispel the environmental myth that offshore drilling is the greatest threat to the oceans and the greatest source of oil found in the oceans. Unfortunately, the public's negative perceptions of our industry and lack of trust in our commitment to environmental preservation have deterred any rational examination or judgment of the facts about our industry.
This year, NOIA became actively involved in the most ambitious outreach effort ever undertaken by the association - sponsorship of the Smithsonian Institution's Ocean Planet exhibition. NOIA's $100,000 contribution to the Smithsonian helped launch in April a massive multi-million dollar museum exhibition that explores the production, pollution and conservation of the world's oceans.
The exhibition calls attention to other pollution factors, aside from oil, that affect the ocean's health. The Ocean Planet exhibition combines state-of-the art computer animation, sculpture, videos, computerized interactives, artifacts, specimens, models, and its own theater for live performances.
For the offshore industries, the exhibition serves as an excellent vehicle to educate the public on the facts about offshore drilling. In one of the exhibit's hands-on activities, a dipstick arrangement allows visitors to discover for themselves the sources of oil pollution and their degree of responsibility. Visitors learn that offshore drilling accounts for less than 2% of the oil found in the oceans while natural seeps put five times more oil into the oceans.
The Smithsonian's exhibition team hopes to close the gap between the public's misperception and the reality of ocean development and conservation issues. In a survey conducted to assist
the Smithsonian staff in the design, planning and programming of the Ocean Planet exhibition, over 70% of the respondents agreed with the statement: "Disasters such as oil spills are the greatest threat to the oceans."
Yet, this response was contrary to the exhibition team's perspective that ocean health is threatened more by non-point pollution. In August, the Smithsonian began a comprehensive two-part evaluation to document and more fully understand how visitors are using the Ocean Planet exhibit. Methods for tracking and surveying have been developed to collect data about what people think before and after their experiences in the exhibition.
Since the exhibition opened in April, an estimated 1.5 million people have visited the Ocean Planet exhibit. More than 40,000 people from 50 countries have accessed Ocean Planet Online, the electronic version of the exhibit available through the World Wide Web. More than 60 programs and events have taken place at the exhibit that have drawn policy makers, administration officials, teachers, families, scientists and others. An extensive media campaign that highlights the Ocean Planet exhibit and the issues featured in the exhibition is estimated to have reached 10.5 million readers and 57 million homes through print and broadcast means.
Currently housed at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, the 7,500 sq ft exhibit will begin its tour in the spring of 1996. The Ocean Planet will travel to 11 other US cities through the year 2000, including San Francisco, New York, Baltimore, Honolulu, Boston and Chicago. NOIA's investment in this education initiative will help bring industry's important message to an estimated 6 million people who are expected to visit the exhibition during its tour.
In an effort to enhance energy education in our nation's schools, NOIA has been working closely with the staff of the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project for several years. The NEED Project offers a comprehensive, non-biased program that empowers students to become actively involved in teaching themselves and others about energy issues.
NEED works to establish and expand its energy education network nationwide. As part of this effort, NOIA President Bob Stewart accepted the chairmanship of NEED in 1995 to spearhead an effort to develop greater financial support and identify opportunities for growth in the NEED program.
Recognizing the benefit of an endorsement by the Department of Energy, NOIA organized strategy meetings with the NEED staff and interested energy trade association representatives to discuss tactics. NEED materials were disseminated to DOE staff members and briefings were held to educate DOE staff on the merits and success of the NEED program. NOIA's efforts culminated with an official endorsement by DOE's Assistant Secretary of Fossil Fuels Patricia Godley at NEED's Youth Awards Ceremony in June, a press conference in September, and a $50,000 contribution from DOE in December.
Before year's end, NEED also experienced a major reorganization in its operations. After lengthy discussions with NEED board members and staff, it was determined that NEED's effectiveness and growth opportunities could be greatly enhanced by implementing structural changes and undergoing a reexamination of NEED's goals and objectives. As a result, committees were formed, the board of directors expanded, a new accounting system instituted, and NEED's' mission statement revised.
Since NOIA became involved in the NEED Project three years ago, NEED's exposure to NOIA member companies has spawned widespread support in all sectors of the oil and gas industry and the energy trade associations. Industry's support of NEED has helped the program grow into a substantial network of state, regional, and thousands of local programs across the country.
NOIA maintains close contact with the media to establish the association as a reliable and available source for information about the industry and the policy positions of the association. This year, the interest of print, radio, and broadcast media in the offshore industries was substantial as NOIA and its member companies became involved in such high-profile issues as the administration's proposal to eliminate the Minerals Management Service; the controversial concerns surrounding OCS moratoria; MMS' release of its draft 5-Year OCS Leasing plan; the "corporate welfare" debate regarding OCS economic incentives; and contention on platform abandonment procedures spurred by the Brent Spar disruption in the North Sea.
NOIA also worked to strengthen relationships with reporters and editors through involvement in events like the press conference of the Offshore Technology Conference and activities of professional organizations such as the National Press Club.
Communicating the offshore industry' position on a wide range of issues to regulators and legislators is a key function of NOIA's communications operation. This year, considerable time and effort was used to develop a continuous circulation of "inside the beltway" advertising and grassroots material for industry's lobbying effort to secure passage of the deep water royalty relief legislation.
NOIA's notable "Deep Water News" newsletter documented the crucial facts about the legislation and was disseminated to the entire House of Representatives for education purposes in addition to industry's Washington representatives and NOIA's grassroots arm, the Domestic Energy Advocates. NOIA's communications material was well received by members of Congress and cited as "good cut-to-the-chase" facts sheets that helped garner support.
NOIA is unique in that it is the only trade association representing all facets of the offshore and related industries. For that reason, companies working together under the NOIA umbrella can
accomplish what no company can do alone. The backbone of NOIA is its 45-member board of directors, its 12-member executive committee, and its seven committees comprised of company representatives.
It is through these entities that NOIA receives direction for its programs, timely consideration of
operational and policy matters, and industry leadership to advance its broad agenda in areas that include OCS leasing, regulatory reform, environmental, technology and safety issues, and public affairs.
Founded in 1972, NOIA's goals include:
- Promoting the common business interests of the members of the offshore and ocean-oriented industries.
- Supporting legislation and other governmental action favorable to the offshore industries and to counsel against such action when it is not favorable.
- Expanding the role of the free enterprise system in the development of the ocean's resources.
NOIA membership is available to companies and non-corporate organizations at a minimum of $600 and a maximum of $27,000 a year. Dues are based on gross sales allocated to US offshore operations.
- Conferences and Meetings
Each year, NOIA meetings and conferences bring members together to be briefed on the latest legislative and regulatory issues affecting industry. Attendees hear from key policy-makers, and experts in the oil and gas field, and exchange information with industry colleagues.
NOIA's 1995 annual meeting drew executives to Washington in April to hear from members of Congress, administration officials, and industry analysts on what the offshore oil and gas industry
might expect from the Republican controlled Congress and the economic conditions facing the industry.
NOIA's 1995 fall meeting in October brought industry leaders to San Antonio for a three-day conference featuring Texas Governor George Bush and Ambassador Edward Djerejian, director of the Baker Institute of Public Policy at Rice University. An industry panel led a discussion on the future of natural gas deliverability in the Gulf of Mexico. A "White Paper" on the exchange has been produced and will be used to better inform leaders in government, media, and academia.
NOIA regional meetings, held once a year in Houston and New Orleans, take the association to its members. The one-day meetings allow Texas and Louisiana members to gather locally to be briefed on technical and policy issues. NOIA's June meeting in New Orleans addressed the proposed changes to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the lease bidding process, and bonding requirements. The Houston meeting in September served as a grassroots workshop. Congressional staff gave NOIA members insight into how they could use a grassroots program to effectively communicate with their representatives in Washington.
- Committees and Working Groups
NOIA committees, working groups, and task forces bring company representatives together to share information, develop policies, and implement strategies for dealing with legislative, regulatory, and other issues.
- Grassroots Network
Domestic Energy Advocates (DEA) is the grassroots lobbying network for NOIA. The program involves members who are interested in becoming active in the political process in our nation's capital. DEA participants, known as District Advocates, work with NOIA to familiarize and educate opinion leaders, the media, and the local community on the benefits of a productive domestic energy industry.
Education of the District Advocates is an integral part of the program. It is done through point papers, fact sheets, and a brochure on OCS development, as well as regional workshops that provide intense educational development in the area of grassroots action.
- National Media
NOIA works with news media around the country to help them cover offshore oil and gas issues accurately and fairly. A steady stream of news releases and media statements emphasizes the need for domestic offshore oil and gas development to meet US energy needs.
- Education Outreach
As part of the association's mission to enhance industry's credibility and reputation, NOIA is a co-sponsor of the Ocean Planet Exhibit at the Smithsonian institution. An exhibit about the productivity, pollution and conservation of the world's oceans, Ocean Planet allows visitors to discover for themselves the sources of oil pollution and their degree of responsibility in a hands-on dipstick activity.
NOIA produces a bi-weekly newsletter, the Washington Report, designed to keep members abreast of industry activities in Washington. NOIA also produces an annual membership directory supplying member addresses, phone and fax numbers, and executive contacts. NOIA's annual report highlights the association's activities and financial status. Distributed each spring, the report is also used as a tool for membership recruitment. NOIA's Government Affairs Update, produced in the spring and fall, is an important resource for members who need a backgrounder on legislative and regulatory issues of interest to the industry.
- Industry Recognition and Awards
This year marked NOIA's 19th presentation of the Safety in Seas award. This award, sponsored by Compass publications, publisher of Sea Technology magazine, recognizes the development of a unique program or product that ensures and enhances the safety of life in developing ocean energy resources. The awards ceremony is an annual meeting highlight and provides significant industry and media recognition to the winning entrant. This year's Safety in Seas award winner was Petroleum Helicopters, Inc.
NOIA' s annual meeting also serves as the vehicle for the presentation of the Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Services' SAFE award. This award was established in 1983 as a means of recognizing oil and natural gas companies who enhance operational safety and environmental protection on the nation's Outer Continental Shelf. This year's recipient of the SAFE award was Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. Diamond was the first drilling contractor to receive the award and the first repeat winner.
Copyright 1996 Offshore. All Rights Reserved.