As the world's supply of crude oil continues to decline, various petroleum companies continue to extract oil and gas from offshore sources as a means of meeting rising energy demands. Often, offshore drilling operations involve partnerships between major oil suppliers and contractors, where a parent company such as British Petroleum (BP) leases a drilling rig from a contractor like Transocean, which operates and manages the required equipment and personnel. While widespread concerns have been raised about the safety of offshore drilling, due to catastrophes like the Deepwater Horizon explosion that took place in the Gulf of Mexico in April, 2010, the industry maintains that offshore drilling is a safe and effective way to supply energy.
Chevron is one of the world’s largest petroleum suppliers and has operations in Asia, Europe and North America. According to the company’s official web site, Chevron is one of “the leading producers in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico” and is the top lease holder throughout the region. Chevron’s offshore “Blind Faith” offshore facility is located in 6,500 feet of water.
BP, or “beyond petroleum,” is another global petroleum company with extensive operations and retail outlets in the U.S. The company’s official site states that BP “is the number one producer of oil and gas offshore in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico”. BP was the lease holder of the aforementioned Deepwater Horizon rig. The company also has offshore operations in the United Kingdom’s North Sea.
ConocoPhillips is another of the planet’s leading oil suppliers with exploration and production facilities in several countries, including Canada and the U.S. The company has spent millions of dollars securing offshore drilling leases in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. In January, 2010, Statoil, Norway’s state-owned oil and gas company, bought a 25 percent interest in ConocoPhillips’ Chukchi Sea operations.
ExxonMobil also operates around the world and leases offshore drilling facilities in Angola, Russia, and the U.S. The company oversees facilities in the Gulf of Mexico, which includes natural gas extraction operations in The Rockefeller Well, a deposit that is located 160 miles off the coast of Texas.
According to the official Transocean site, the company is “the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor” and leads the industry in equity market capitalization. Transocean operates over 130 offshore drilling rigs and has equipment which can drill in depths of 4,500 feet or greater. Transocean was the owner of the Deepwater Horizon.
Noble Corporation is another offshore drilling contractor with extensive operations around the world. The company operates several offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and was awarded the contract for the Hibernia field, which is located off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.