In disaster’s wake, BP doubles down on deepwater despite surging shale – Reuters
| THUNDER HORSE OIL PLATFORM, Gulf of Mexico
THUNDER HORSE OIL PLATFORM, Gulf of Mexico About 300 BP workers commute 150 miles here by helicopter, from the Louisiana coast to a deep-sea drilling platform that can produce more oil in a day than a West Texas rig can pump in a year.
On the deck of Thunder Horse, they work two-week shifts, drink seawater from a desalination plant, and eat ribs and chicken ferried in by boat. On the ocean floor, robots provide remote eyes and arms as drills extract up to 265,000 barrels per day.
“There’s a whole city below us,” said Jim Pearl, Marine Team Leader on the platform.
This is just one of the four Gulf of Mexico platforms on which BP has staked its future in U.S. oil production.
Seven years after its Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, BP is betting tens of billions of dollars on the prospect that it can slash the costs of offshore drilling by half or more – just as shale oil producers have done onshore.
The firm says it can do that while it continues to pay an estimated $61 billion in total costs and damages from the worst spill in history – and without compromising safety.
BP’s Gulf platforms are key to a global strategy calling for up to $17 billion in annual investments through 2021 to increase production by about 5 percent each year, Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley recently told investors.
“Our strategy is to take this investment that we spent so much money building, and keep it full” to the platform’s capacity, Richard Morrison, BP’s regional president for the Gulf of Mexico, told Reuters during the first tour of a BP Gulf drilling platform since the disaster. “We’re also exploring for larger pools of oil.”