The latest findings from GBI research show that increasing demand for hydrocarbons is expected to push offshore drilling into new and riskier waters.
The production from offshore regions accounts for an increasing share of the total world oil and gas production. Offshore crude oil production accounts for around 30% or more of the total global crude oil production. Also, offshore natural gas production accounts for about a quarter of the total world natural gas production.
Despite a slowdown in investment in 2009, these figures, driven by high demand and rising prices of crude oil and natural gas, are set to increase as companies are forced to expand their E&P operations into ultra-deepwater and harsh-weather environments.
One of the main areas believed to be ripe for E&P operations is the Arctic Sea where, according to technology-based findings, an offshore spill would pose significant challenges and low hydrocarbon recovery rates as a result of operating in ice-filled waters. Aside from the obvious financial losses, significant damage to an already precariously balanced ecosystem would also be likely to occur.
Despite these increased risks, new regulatory norms imposed on E&P companies and offshore drilling contractors by offshore regulatory bodies of governments worldwide are expected to make a positive change in terms of making the operational environment safe and environmentally sensitive in the offshore drilling industry.