Ultra-Deepwater Drilling and Normal Accidents
"Gulf of Mexico (GOM) oil production began from shallow water fields (water depth of under 1,000 feet) but shallow water production began to fall in 1998. Steadily increasing volumes from deepwater fields (water depths between 1,000 and 4,999 feet) offset these declines until 2004, after which deepwater production also began to decline (see chart above).
But, ultra-deepwater production (water depths more than 5,000 feet) has risen dramatically since 2004 (and more than tripled since 2005), stemming the overall decline in GOM production. A trio of high-profile ultra-deepwater discoveries - Atlantis, Thunder Horse, and Great White (part of the Perdido development) - has recently started producing. Several more are in various stages of development."
HT: Paul Kedrosky, who argues that "part of what we're seeing here is the inevitable "normal accidents" from changing technology as we transition from one extraction depth regime to another."