Deepwater Drilling to Pass Pre-Spill Heights

Oil demand keeps drills humming in Gulf of Mexico
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2012 8:31 AM CST
Deepwater Drilling to Pass Pre-Spill Heights
ExxonMobil Exploration Company used the Maersk Developer semi-submersible drilling rig, shown here, to drill its first post-moratorium deepwater exploration well in the Gulf of Mexico.   (Photo: Business Wire)

It's been almost two years since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, and deepwater drilling is back. With a year-long moratorium over, BP and other companies are intensifying their operations in the Gulf of Mexico, and production there will soon exceed its pre-accident highs, the New York Times reports. The practice is also expanding around the globe—including in Mexican and Cuban waters where the US cannot regulate it, but would surely be impacted by a spill.

The high temperature and high pressure inherent in deepwater drilling make it a dangerous practice; China and Brazil have both had accidents in their waters in the past year. But "we need the oil," one energy expert says. "The public will have to deal with the risk of drilling in deep waters or get out of their cars." With gas prices up to an average $3.76 a gallon, politicians seem fine with that, with arguments revolving not around whether to expand drilling, but how quickly. (More Deepwater Horizon stories.)

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