U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, today made the following statement regarding the first oil at Tubular Bells, a deepwater oil and gas field off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. This site is where the very first offshore rig of its kind was designed and constructed entirely in the United States. Much of the rig construction took place in Houma, La.

"We in the Gulf States - and especially in Louisiana - are aware of how important domestic energy production is to our economy," said Vitter. "This is a major project and great news for the future of energy production in our country. It's also exciting to see the first completely American-made rig of its kind contributing and bringing us closer to energy independence."

More information about Tubular Bells:

• Tubular Bells deepwater oil and gas field was discovered in 2003 and lies 135 miles southeast of New Orleans, La.
• The offshore oil rig is the first that was designed and constructed entirely in the United States
• Construction of the rig created 7,000 direct and indirect jobs in Texas and Louisiana
• Tubular Bells is expected to deliver approximately 50,000 barrels of oil per day from three producing wells

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