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Despite BP Oil Spill, Drilling Continues in the Gulf

September 25, 2012


Immediately following BP’s five million barrel oil spill in April 2010 the U.S. government issued a six-month suspension on drilling for certain areas of the Gulf of Mexico. However, the government has since been issuing an increasing number of deep-water drilling permits for those areas. About 44 permits were issued in the first quarter of 2012 alone, an all-time high since the 2010 suspension.

Growth in drilling in the GOM can be attributed to both economic and political factors. As prices of crude oil continue to rise, oil production will too, even in the fragile GOM. Additionally, the United States and Mexico entered into an agreement regarding hydrocarbon exploration and production in the GOM in February 2012, increasing freedoms for U.S. oil corporations. Growth in investment and in drilling can be expected to follow.

Deep-water drilling in the GOM is expected to return to levels experienced prior to the spill by the end of 2012. International oil companies such as BP and Chevron Corporation, with the means to fund potential liability risks in the event of another accident, have continued to spearhead these operations.


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