Record Number of Rigs Drilling In Ultra-Deep Gulf Waters

Friday, August 24, 2007
The U.S. Minerals Management Service, which manages federal offshore leases, said a record number of drilling rig are working in ultra-deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico. Fifteen rigs are currently drilling for oil and natural gas in the ultra-deepwater of the Gulf at depths of 5,000 feet or greater. MMS officials say the record is the result of a decade-long trend of exploration companies looking to deeper regions of the Gulf.

Currently, 70 percent of the Gulf’s oil production and 40 percent of its natural gas production comes from depths of 1,000 feet or greater. In July, Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s Independence Hub, a semi-submersible platform located in 8,000 feet of water, began producing natural gas, marking the world’s largest offshore petroleum facility and the deepest production platform. The project beat the former record holder, the Na KiKa floating system, located in 6,340 feet of water, operated by Shell Offshore Inc. and BP Exploration and Production Inc.

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