Gulf seeing returning interest for offshore drilling

Offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico took a distinct downturn in the wake of the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil well. Two years later, Reuters reports that offshore drilling activity has begun to recover.

Louisiana has relied on money from offshore oil platforms since they made their first appearance in the region around the 1970s, and the economic benefits of this industry led many in the state to continue to support offshore drilling despite the accident.

However, President Barack Obama imposed a moratorium that was soon extended, and the administration has since imposed stricter rules for new offshore oil rigs.

But as oil prices have continued to trend upward, demonstrating the uncertainty of the global oil market, many companies have been drawn back to investment in the Gulf. After a dip following the incident, the number of rigs has recovered to nearly the same level, with 29 currently in operation.

The Wall Street Journal reports that most analysts still see companies favoring new unconventional oil fields in places like Texas and North Dakota, but some have turned to offshore oil production because of lower costs.

Projections for the U.S. offshore oil industry can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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