Scott Angelle’s expected move up the political ranks is bittersweet for the Breaux Bridge native. On one hand, he gets to serve as lieutenant governor until a successor is elected later this fall. On the other, he must temporarily vacate his post as natural resources secretary just after launching an aggressive campaign to create new incentives to encourage oil and natural gas exploration in south Louisiana.

The state Mineral Board is expected to begin discussions soon, but industry leaders are already champing at the bit. Angelle’s proposed package would in part target wells drilled to 15,000 feet or below in the coastal zone, making such wells a much more attractive option for exploration companies to spend their drilling dollars.

Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Don Briggs says the proposal should draw interest from exploration companies and could give Louisiana an edge. “We have to be competitive with so many states, and we are competing with so many resource plays,” Briggs says.

The draft proposal also includes a provision requiring companies taking advantage of any related incentives to compensate for impacts to coastal wetlands at a rate of 125 percent of the habitat value of the wetlands, rather than the current rate of 100 percent. "Incentives of the kind Secretary Angelle has brought forward would certainly spur development in south Louisiana, where exploration and production have been on the decline,” says Chris John, president of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association. “Renewing interest there would make economic sense for Louisiana.”

Click here to view the entire resolution adopted by the state Mineral Board this month.

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