Gulf of Mexico Oil Rigs – 2nd Post

I am writing this follow-up post to last week’s post for two reasons.  The first reason is the number one search phrase bringing people to this blog for the past few days has been “how many oil rigs are in the Gulf of Mexico?”  I didn’t state this in the first post, and also, the data set has been updated since then.  So, I re-downloaded the Mineral Management Service platform location points from their GIS data site, and this is what the file currently shows:

  • Active platforms – 3,579
  • Removed platforms – 3,319
  • Proposed platforms – 123

The second reason for this post is, while watching the animation, I was interested in the number of platforms that seemed to be popping up throughout the years in shallow waters, not just a strong shift from installations in shallow waters to deep waters.  As I watched, I couldn’t help think of a recent comment to environmentalists from Sarah Palin, now perpetuated throughout her sphere of influence.  “Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country’s energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas.”  She is, for the most part, talking about ANWR when she mentions onshore drilling.  It is true that there has been lots of opposition to drilling in ANWR for many years now.  But I can’t imagine that opposing onshore drilling in northern Alaska has forced companies to drill in deeper waters in the Gulf of Mexico.  And as far as shallow water drilling goes, looking at the platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, shallow water drilling has NOT been abandoned for deep water.  Rather, the option for deep water drilling has simply become more feasible in the past few decades.  The graph below illustrates this point.

The next post, I promise, will have fewer words.


12 Responses to “Gulf of Mexico Oil Rigs – 2nd Post”

  1. davelem Says:

    Thank you very much for this information. I was having a debate with a work colleague of mine – and from your information – I won 🙂 Well, not really, because we’re all losing from this disaster.

    I’m totally shocked that there are rigs near and over 8,000 feet deep. That’s about 300atm of pressure!! Are they sure the blowout preventers work that far down? If something goes wrong that deep… wow… they think they have issues at 5,000 feet… 8,000 is a whole new world in comparison.

    Thanks again for your post.

  2. anon Says:

    Very interesting. And hey, don’t skimp on the words next time! The words are as informative as the images.

  3. Richard Says:

    This is an excellent website but needs more information. I too am deeply ashamed at Americans reckless behaviour in the Gulf of Mexico. The American Government itself is the culprit for the continuing leasing of the sea floor bed. The waters that surround these leased areas plus the sea floor are being violated. Six thousand plus rigs sound like a an oil junk yard. Scientist really have not been talking about what and if punching holes in the sea floor is a brilliant thing to do. Lets remember clay and rock sediment is soft, even if it is a mile thick it cracks and breaks up! If this happens we will be in some deep prayer for thousands of years. American and the rest of the world need to leave the oceans in peace.

  4. Pat Says:

    WOW is all I can say! You really don’t know what you are talking about…

    You bash Palin who has had experiance with oil companies yet you don’t even know what you are talking about!

    You say:
    “But I can’t imagine that opposing onshore drilling in northern Alaska has forced companies to drill in deeper waters in the Gulf of Mexico.”

    You ALL need to educate yourself on the Deep Water Royalty Relief Act of 1995 passed in the Clinton years! Continued onward in the Bush and the Obama administrations.

    You need to stop looking at things as liberal/conservative. Both sides have their play in this. Deep water drilling is NOT safe. Onshore drilling is a LOT more safe. We need oil, that is a fact! Enviromentalists have made it very difficult to have safe drilling coupled with the tax relief given to those that will do deep drilling. Until we have alternate fuel choices that really work, we need oil. Enviromentalists need to stop their rants regarding ANWR and elsewhere and the Government needs to stop deep drilling! We need to open onshore drilling and keep shallow drilling.

    • tsinn Says:

      Thanks for your note, Pat. My intention is not to make these posts political in any way. My intention is to create an illustration from data. And I wish that when other people make very strong statements that they will also back their statements up with data.
      And when you say, “Deep water drilling is NOT safe. Onshore drilling is a LOT more safe,” I couldn’t agree with you more, and that is the major point of my posts. I even agree with you when you say “We need to open onshore drilling and keep shallow drilling.” Though I will add that I believe we also need more hydropower, solar power, wind farms, and most importantly, we need to cut back on the amount of energy we consume.

  5. Andy Says:

    Out of the present 3,579 active platforms, how many are drilling platform rigs and how many are production platforms?

  6. charlee Says:

    How does the number of rigs relate to the number of wells?

    • tsinn Says:

      The maps I’ve produced are actually for platforms, not rigs, as is suggested. The GIS data did not include the number of wells currently in the Gulf of Mexico. The data only included active, removed, and proposed platforms.

  7. Devin Says:

    I am trying to do a debate with some fellow workers and i would like to know were you got your information from so i could do better to back up what i say with facts and research. Please email me what you can at as soon as possible thankyou

  8. Abdul Says:

    Does anyone have an idea about any rig of 8000 feet in a water depth drilled in the last 5years?

    I need the type of drilling rig used, the system used in maintain the station and the drilling riser used.

    Any available link would be highly appreciated.

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