Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Moratorium 8

Disco Spirit
Here's the names of the 8 drilling rigs that have left the Gulf since the Moratorium was put in place. To note:
* 1 was already scheduled to depart for another area
* 3 were new, 5 were more than 24 years old, and some were more than 30 years old. 20 years is generally a good lifetime for a rig; 30 is sometimes done if prices are favorable and there's been good maintenance and 10-year overhauls. The new rigs will hurt (the 3 that left were among the best in their respective fleets), but the others were so long in the tooth, you'd almost say good riddance. Diamond had a lot of legacy drillships left over from New Orleans-based OEDECO that probably shouldn't be operating in the second decade of the 21st Century. They'll eventually be replaced by newbuilds very soon. There's a MODU building boom going on in Korea, thanks mostly to generous government subsidies and financing for customers.

Note that there have been some rigs that have come TO the Gulf since the Moratorium, although almost all are jackups leaving shallow-water Mexico to drill a series of promising shallow water gas fields on the US side.

BP, meanwhile, still hasn't gotten a SINGLE drill permit since the moratorium. Most other operators now have all their drillships back in operation, but BP's only drilling is being done where they are a minority operator. Either the BOEMRE is deliberately shoving aside anything with BP written on it (unlikely) or it's yet another indicator that BP lags behind in technical competency. BP
desperately wants to avoid "gross negligence" charges (and the quadrupled fines that go along) and this (in my opinion) is yet another nail in that coffin.

The worrying about "Economic Survival" seems to be past, but the Moratorium may yet teach us some interesting things about drillship construction and BP's operating practices.

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