Impacts, opportunities and future challenges.

As the world’s attention finally starts to shift away from the BP Macondo disaster that has dominated the headlines over the year, the energy industry is starting to face up to the challenges that the ramifications of the incident will present  for oil and gas exploration in the coming years. There is a broad range of opinion as to the long-term impact of the blowout, but the consensus view among operators, regulators and suppliers is that exploration across the globe, and especially in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), will be more restricted and expensive, with increased regulatory burdens, higher development costs, and anticipated project and productions delays.

Operators will have to adapt so as to explore successfully and safely. Many have already undertaken risk reviews of their project portfolios, exploration processes and safety procedures to assess their exposure and to ensure adherence to the best global practices. Moreover, companies are looking to technologies which can help them both add the additional capacities they require while at the same time reduce the risk of future incidents.

Central to this issue is the concept of “Integrated Operations” (IO) that holds significant promise in avoiding offshore drilling accidents. These changes to the traditional ‘modus operandi’ of the industry are becoming a critical element of the oil and gas industry efforts to advance safer operations.