"One can, then, conceive the production, by purely mineral means, of all natural hydrocarbons. The intervention of heat, of water, and of alkaline metals -- lastly, the tendency of hydrocarbons to unite together to form the more condensed material -- suffice to account for the formation of these curious compounds. Moreover, this formation will be continuous because the reactions which started it are renewed incessantly." -- Marcellin Berthelot, chemist, 1866
"Hydrocarbons can be re-defined as a 'renewable resource, rather than a finite one' (Gurney 1997)" -- Peter R. Odell, economist/geologist, 2004
Casselman, B., and Chazan, G., Cramped on Land, Big Oil Bets at Sea, The Wall Street Journal via Yahoo! News, January 6th 2010 (Hat tip: Jeffery Keown)
Chevron is leasing the Clear Leader, which floats in 4,300 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, to drill for oil through nearly five miles of rock.
Big Oil never wanted to be here, in 4,300 feet of water far out in the Gulf of Mexico, drilling through nearly five miles of rock.
It is an expensive way to look for oil. Chevron Corp. is paying nearly $500,000 a day to the owner of the Clear Leader, one of the world's newest and most powerful drilling rigs. The new well off the coast of Louisiana will connect to a huge platform floating nearby, which cost Chevron $650 million to build. ...
"These discoveries are changing the debate," says Ed Morse, chief economist for LCM Commodities, a brokerage firm. What remains unclear, he says, is whether the deepwater projects will ensure that new discoveries continue to meet demand.
Many in the industry argue the new fields have expanded the limits of where the industry can find oil, potentially delaying a decline in global production.
"There are vast unexplored areas in deep water, so tremendous opportunities for growth," says Steven Newman, president of Transocean Ltd., which owns the Clear Leader rig. ...
Adding to the challenge: The oil that Chevron was pursuing lay beneath a thick layer of salt, which disrupts seismic sound waves and blurs the images like a smudge on a camera lens. The company had to analyze the data with supercomputers to clear up that distortion.