Oil drilling to begin again near site of 2010 deepwater horizon disaster in gulf of mexico gas stoichiometry formula

LLOG’s permit to drill a new well near BP’s site was approved April 13 by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, an agency overseeing offshore oil and gas drilling operations. The company’s exploration plan was approved last October after an environmental review by a sister agency, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

"Our commitment is to not allow such an event to occur again," said Rick Fowler, the vice president for deep-water projects at LLOG. "LLOG staff keeps the memory of what happened … fresh in our minds throughout our operations, both planning and execution."

On April 20, 2010, a drilling rig owned by Transocean Ltd. and hired by BP to drill into the Macondo field experienced a series of problems that led to a massive blowout. Investigators later faulted BP and its contractors for fatal missteps.

BP, its contractors and federal regulators struggled to contain the blowout and kill the out-of-control well over the course of the next 87 days. In all, the federal government calculated that about 172 million gallons spilled into the Gulf. BP put the number much lower, closer to 100 million gallons.

Richard Charter, a senior fellow with the Ocean Foundation and a longtime industry watchdog, said it would be cause for concern if a small company resumed drilling in the reservoir, which is located in a geographical area of the gulf known as the Mississippi Canyon. The area, rich in oil and gas, is divided up into blocks used for drilling. BP’s Macondo well was located in Mississippi Canyon Block 252.

"BP had deep pockets," he said. "You don’t want someone not particularly qualified and not fully amortized to be tangling with this particular dragon." He added: "When a company can’t pay when something goes wrong, generally it’s the public that pays."

Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane University Energy Institute in New Orleans, dismissed those concerns. He called LLOG "an extremely well-financed and well-organized" company. He said it had an excellent reputation and was known for its veteran staff.

Since 2010, LLOG has drilled eight wells in the Mississippi Canyon area in "analogous reservoirs at similar depths and pressures," Fowler, the LLOG vice president, said. The company has drilled more than 50 wells in the Gulf since 2002, he said.

In 2014, regulators approved splitting up Mississippi Canyon Block 252. BP still owns 270 acres of the block around its disastrous Macondo well and the area where the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon and other heavy equipment lie on the seafloor. LLOG owns the block’s other 5,490 acres.

John Filostrat, a spokesman for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said LLOG would be the first company to attempt to tap the oil and gas reserves that BP had been seeking. He said regulators did extensive reviews of the company’s drilling plans.

The exploration plan calls for drilling into Block 252 from an adjacent block by June, federal records show. The drilling will be done by the Sevan Louisiana, a semisubmersible drilling rig owned by Sevan Drilling ASA, an international drilling company based in Oslo, Norway.