Offshore drilling is happening now and has measurably increased oil and gas supplies around the world

In 2000, fewer than 20 vessels in the world could drill deepwater wells. Now there are nearly 200.

Oil Rig / BP Horizon Fire ( 1, 2 )

Global deepwater oil production leapt to roughly 7 million barrels a day in the last 11 years, up from 1.5 million barrels

Now provides about 8% of the world's oil supply.

That production could double by 2020

Most of the drilling is in;

Only about 10% of the world's deepwater oil and gas fields have been extensively explored and drilled

Oil Rig Types


Advances in computer processing power have allowed geologists to make sense of seismic data 15,000 feet or more below the ocean floor

3-D imaging and seismic mapping are now possible even below thick layers of salt, which used to blur views of untapped reservoirs

Superstrong alloys allow drill bits to go into hot, high-pressure fields

There are risks as the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster last year demonstrated

Regulations became somewhat tougher worldwide yet they caused little more than a pause in drilling

Even in the US, drilling is almost back to pre-Horizon levels a year after the incident


Cuba is planning to start drilling exploratory wells offshore at the beginning of 2012

Mexico is moving to deepwater drilling

Drilling has begun off the coast of Ghana

Experts say they believe fertile fields exist all the way down the west coast of Africa to Namibia


Geologists say they believe the fields of west Africa fit like jigsaw puzzle pieces with prospective fields in South America