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Gulf of Mexico drilling rebounds after oil spill: report

(Xinhua)

08:59, September 16, 2011

HOUSTON, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has made a comeback, driven by new deepwater oil discoveries, high oil prices and improved technologies, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The comeback comes after drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was largely shut down by the U.S. government following last year's BP oil spill, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Drilling has returned to near-normal levels in the Gulf. There are 23 rigs currently drilling wells in water deeper than 3,000 feet, the newspaper quoted federal statistics as reporting.

A series of new oil discoveries in deepwater in the Gulf this year contributed to the burst of drilling activity in the Gulf, according to the paper.

BHP Billiton PLC and Chevron Corp. last week announced separate oil discoveries in the Gulf. The discoveries contain several billion barrels of oil, enough to keep the Gulf of Mexico a major producing region for years to come.

The newspaper said that the exploration has been driven by high oil prices as well as improved technologies that allow geologists to remotely detect oil before drilling.

In 2010, about 1.54 million barrels of oil were produced a day from the Gulf, according to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The U.S. will produce 1.43 million barrels of oil a day from the Gulf of Mexico in 2011, the Wall Street Journal quoted projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration as reporting.

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