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The modern challenge of domestic deepwater drilling

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2 Author(s)
Zimmerman, E.H. ; Delmar Syst., Inc., Houston, TX, USA ; Marshall, G.E.

The battle for our economic recovery and energy independence is be fought miles from our coastline, with more than 3000-feet of water beneath our frontline. Modern deepwater drilling has become a pivotal political field where reason is often silenced by process and public opinion polls. The truth is that deepwater oil reservoirs are currently producing approximately 10-percent of our energy demand and a handful of recently developed fields are producing half of that production. Without arguing the need to reduce our consumption, there is no doubt that the ability to stop the importation of foreign oil and increase the investment in our own economy, rests with domestic deepwater drilling. Understanding that the modern deepwater development cycle spans more than one presidential term brings to light that policy effecting drilling can have significant impact on our ability to invest in our own resources. Challenges between drilling rig availability and permitting uncertainty are now on the forefront. And the challenges of engineering to safely and efficiently obtain our resources are now on the backburner. It is not uncommon for politics to interfere with technical fact, but balance must be found and our energy supply must be stabilized. Insight to the contracting reality of drilling resources and engineering obstacles that must be overcome at each site, bring to light the need for clarity and long-term vision for our energy supply. The deepwater moratorium imposed in the wake of the Horizon disaster brought about a significant strain on the technical know-how and resources that are required to safely and efficiently drill deepwater wells. Study of other countries and their management and policy of offshore drilling offers examples of long-term energy and economic vision. Study of our own history and spirit of innovation offers proof of our ability to tackle some of the difficult of challenges.

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Date of Conference:

19-22 Sept. 2011