"Accidents Show Depth of Danger in Shallow Waters"

"The 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill focused attention on the hazards of drilling for oil a mile below the surface of the sea, but recent incidents have brought new attention to dangers that still lurk on the shallow continental shelf, where companies rely on decades-old pipes and platforms to tap aging fields."

"The explosion of a natural gas well 55 miles from Louisiana’s coast in July, along with a fatal production platform fire last November and a leaking gas reservoir in February, dispel the argument that the biggest offshore drilling risks exist only amid bone-crushing pressures in deep waters hundreds of miles from the shore.

'There are differences in drilling exploratory wells in deep water versus ongoing production in shallow water,' said former deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes. 'But the point is that you’re dealing with an inherent risk proposition in both. We’re moving what can be explosive or volatile hydrocarbons in an environment where you’ve got water issues and isolation.'

Bud Danenberger, a consultant and the former federal chief of offshore regulatory programs, notes that the vast majority of the 150 well control incidents recorded in U.S. waters since the 1950s have occurred in shallow stretches."

Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Emily Pickrell report for Hearst's FuelFix August 4, 2013.

Source: FuelFix, 08/07/2013