Today deepwater drilling is usually considered any depth greater than 1,000 feet.1
There are two main technologies involved in offshore oil production; both are capital-intensive and need high levels of experience to be used effectively.
A type of platform with ballasted pontoons that allow the structure to face up to waves. These platforms are more stable than typical ships and typically have large deck areas with control and operations space, helipads and loading docks.
Drillships engage in exploratory drilling before oil and gas production begins. Although drillships aren’t a replacement technology (they are around since the 1950s), new imaging and positioning technology allow for much higher levels of precision during the upkeep and completion of a well.
The recent decline within the price of oil has hurt the profitability of deepwater activities and should stifle future development. Nonetheless, companies still produce. Since deepwater drilling requires a high level of technical expertise and substantial capital investment, only a couple of companies worldwide engage in deepwater drilling, including:
Globally, deepwater accounts for over 100 billion barrels of reserves, or about 10% of total reserves. There are 3,400 deepwater wells within the Gulf of Mexico alone. These three regions structure what has been termed “the Golden Triangle.” thus far, Mexico has been the foremost important producer within Triangulum, but Brazil’s Petrobras has been making strides in improving its deepwater capabilities.
The frenetic pace of expansion in both the volume and diversity of new crude oil sources from shale has presented a series of challenges to the industry. Transporting the new crudes to the market was an immediate concern. The impact of shale oil on the domestic and then international crude oil market was no less dramatic during this time. The tsunami of new shale crude oil flooded the USA with inexpensive petroleum feedstocks and condensates.