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Africa to capitalise on deepwater drilling

In the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, offshore deepwater drilling is now being questioned as too risky a venture. However the domino effect of how this will impact other regions is far less damaging than initially expected.

Africa has always had a strong market for offshore exploratory drilling projects and with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. saying on Monday that it has struck oil offshore of Ghana at the Owo prospect in the Deepwater Tano Block; it has done little to dampen new drilling projects in the western region.

Even BP, which has taken a huge hit to its balance sheet and public perception due to the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, has no plans to stop deepwater drilling in the Gulf or other offshore areas, but has not gone unnoticed by regulatory and government bodies.

The Obama administration’s financial reform act has already started setting precedent to show that a global standard for corporate transparency should be geared toward mining and energy companies. However there is a large gap between setting precedent and taking ownership in the marketplace, and these are topics that the oil and gas industry as a whole are starting to look at together.

When an industry experiences negative environmental and health and safety impacts on a yearly basis, the co-operation of the industry as a whole to develop new methods for developing the global energy supply becomes extremely important. A spokesperson from Shell explains ‘We had 132 spills last year, against 175 on average. Safety valves were vandalised; one pipe had 300 illegal taps. We found five explosive devices on one. Sometimes communities do not give us access to clean up the pollution because they can make more money from compensation.’

Repairing pipelines, developing effective oil spill response teams, and working on better technologies for blowout preventers (BOP) are precautions that are part of a major oil and gas companies daily activities.

The importance of developing new sites sees Africa at the forefront of major talking points at the NG O&G Summit in Africa. The top executives in the industry will be working together to make deepwater drilling a safer way to capitalise on the huge reservoirs of oil found below a mile under the sea.

Author: Daniel Reinhold-Shor, NG Online

Published on 28/07/2010

 
 

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