Monday, June 7, 2010
In other words, they claim that oil producers were forced into deeper, more dangerous conditions because of environmentalists.
Are they right?
BP was clearly criminally negligent, and government regulators were wholly captured by the oil industry.
But we have to take a step back to see the bigger picture.
As McClatchy pointed out last month:
Conventional U.S. oil production has been in decline since the 1970s, and near-shore production along the Gulf Coast peaked in 1997.
Globally, one in every 10 barrels of oil produced in 2030 will come from ultra-deepwater operations, [Leta Smith, director of oil supply research for Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a leading oil analyst] said, adding that roughly 70 percent of the deep water in the Gulf of Mexico remains unexplored.
In 1990, the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico yielded about 20,000 barrels per day of crude oil. By 2009, that number had grown to 1 million, according to CERA.
Nine projects that are coming onstream will add at least 200,000 barrels per day this year, said CERA researchers, who expect deepwater production to account for 17 percent of U.S. liquids production this year, which includes oil and natural gas.
Today there are at least 42 active deepwater projects for exploration or production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico or international gulf waters, and at least another five projects in the works. Seventeen of those are ultra-deepwater.
Outside the Gulf Coast region, Brazil is the world's most promising ultra-deepwater producer, with new discoveries in the past five years in the so-called Santos basin that experts think will make the South American giant a powerhouse in the oil business. Deep waters off the African nations of Nigeria and Angola also hold promise.