What does future hold for the offshore sector?

Houston Chronicle | May 4, 2018

What does the future hold for offshore drilling? Matt McCarroll, CEO of Fieldwood Energy of Houston and Carri Lockhart is Statoil’s senior vice president for offshore North America provide their perspectives.

Key to offshore’s future: Making money

It is tempting to imagine that OTC conventioneers in 2068 will come to Houston to gawk at a vast array of robotic drilling rigs capable of operating on the ocean floor along with legions of subsea drones designed to transport and connect pipe, produce and separate product and safely load submarine tankers in ultra-deep waters. If that sounds fantastic, it is. The kind of stuff that premiers in Hollywood not the halls at OTC.

Why not? Simple. Offshore oil and gas development is not a science project, it needs to make money. So, the economic guardrails are largely set. Exploration and production technology must be in line with the market value of the resources produced.

There is a reason why the derricks, pipe and drill bits used today bear a strong resemblance to the basic mechanics of Spindletop 117 years ago: the price of oil can only command so much investment in technology and still make a healthy return. Will we see the $600 oil needed to justify the costs of developing and deploying such high-tech underwater marvels? If historic prices are any gauge, unlikely.

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