WASHINGTON – For years, international ships and crews have traveled in and out of the Gulf of Mexico to construct the offshore platforms and deep-sea pipelines that allow oil and gas thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean to get to market.

But now a long-running fight between U.S. energy and maritime companies about what work international crews can do under U.S. law has come to a head, forcing a decision from the Trump administration. At issue is whether to require offshore oil and gas drillers to shift work handled by international construction crews to domestic ones, something oil lobbyists warn could decimate deep-sea drilling in the Gulf.

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