First Oil Rig Exits Gulf in Wake of Drilling Ban

Diamond Offshore announced Friday that its Ocean Endeavor drilling rig will leave the Gulf of Mexico and move to Egyptian waters immediately — making it the first to abandon the United States in the wake of the BP oil spill and a ban on deep-water drilling.

And the Ocean Endeavor's exodus probably won't be the last, according to oil industry officials and Gulf Coast leaders who warn that other companies eager to find work for the now-idled rigs are considering moving them outside the U.S.

For critics of the moratorium, it means lost US jobs. Each ship has about 100 workers aboard, and it requires a network of vendors on shore to keep it supplied, explains the Chronicle. For supporters, it means one less potential oil disaster. Even though a judge has struck down Obama's 6-month moratorium, no company dares to begin new projects while the appeal process is under way.