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.