Deepwater Drilling Continues Around The World}

Deepwater Drilling Continues Around the World


Michael R.

It hasnt even been a year since the blow out of the Deepwater Horizon and deepwater drilling has resumed full force around the world. With 11 dead and many wounded, not to mention the environmental costs, deepwater oil excavation has become very controversial. Each accident has long lasting effects upon the immediate vicinity, and while the Horizon is the best known accident, it has not been the only one documented.

Until recently deepwater drilling wasnt even considered sufficiently profitable; however, with the decrease in easily available oil deposits and the rising prices, the economies of such wells have been reassessed. It is unlikely that any petroleum company will be able to afford ceasing such activities

What is Deepwater Drilling?

Deepwater drilling involves oil and natural gas exploration far from the coastline at a depth of 1000 feet or more. There are two kinds of deepwater rigs in use: semi-submersible and drillships. Drilling can also be conducted from fixed installations such as tension leg platforms or floating spars.

The semi-submersible rig is actually a seagoing vessel with exceptional stability and a capacity to be tethered to the ocean floor. Drillships are vessels that are usually used for exploratory purposes and for working on existing wells; however they can also be a modified tanker which has a dynamic positioning system that will keep it over a well while it loads crude.


The depths to which deepwater operations extend now well exceed 1000 feet.

BP Goes to New Depths

Australian resource and energy minister has announced that BP has received permits to begin a new project in the Bight basin. BP will undertake an ambitious surveying project at a depth of 13,000 feet. If oil is found, drilling permits may be issued, although Australia has stated that they will impose certain security and safety precautions.

Temporary Slowdown

While experts anticipate a slowdown in deep water drilling projects in the next couple of years, demand for new oil reserves make a permanent halt unlikely. New ultra-deep drilling ships are already on order and the market for such equipment is expected to grow. The real question is whether or not new technology will be up to the task of protecting the environment or just the assets of investors.

Commission Findings

The recently published presidential commission that investigated the circumstances that led to the Deepwater Horizon accident determined that several factors created the conditions necessary for the explosion and spill. The overwhelming failure, however, occurred at the managerial level.

The government placed a moratorium on deepwater projects during the investigation, but those have since been lifted. To prevent additional disasters new safety protocols have been put into place and developers have to reapply for permits and comply with updated regulations. Even so, ecologists have expressed significant concerns over the risks involved in drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet.

Other Choices Simply May Not Exist in the Short Term

As potentially dangerous and hazardous as deepwater activity might be, there may not be many other viable options in the near future. Drilling in shallow waters is decreasing and large onshore deposits are getting harder to find. Deepwater excavation has doubled in the last 5 years and is expected to double again by 2020.

An additional reason to develop deepwater drilling sites is that the majority of the most productive oil fields currently mined are in OPEC nations. This gives foreign powers a great deal of power over the worlds energy economy and potentially compromises national security.

In order to get away from deepwater drilling and its inherent ecological dangers, alternative methods of fueling combustion engines and supplying the worlds energy needs must advance significantly. To date the application of research into wind, solar, water and biofuel power has been minimal, but that is changing.

Only time will tell how effective the new regulations and safety protocols work, but for now it is full steam ahead for deepwater exploration and drilling.

Michael Rupkalvis works with the LedBulbsandLights website. The site features a variety of different types of environmentally-friendly LED products, including the

MR16 LED spotlight

and other

LED bulbs


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Deepwater Drilling Continues Around the World}