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First, I am not in the oil business and don't know squat about drilling for oil. Second, this is not to play arm chair quarterback. Point fingers, etc. But....

I was quite shocked that wells were drilled at a depth of 5000 feet. Honestly I thought the deepest wells in the gulf sat in 1,200 feet of water or less. Are there other wells in this depth of water? Is the water this deep in the North Sea?

Why drill at these depths? Less drilling required because of the water depth?

Does the rig sit on the sea floor as I thought other rigs do? 5000 feet of underwater structure is hard to comprehend.

Does anyone here have any knowledge of the risk assessment differences?

Were there additional safety fetures in place for drilling in this depth of water?

At this juncture, it looks like the relief well will be the savior, why didn't they pop two holes to begin with?

Thanks for the education.
 

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This well was not out of the ordinary for the gulf, in fact the rig I am on just completed a well in a little over 8000 ft of water. Over the past decade, deepwater drilling has taken off in the Gulf.

As for the rig itself,... it is called a MODU or Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit. The rig is held in place by DP "Dynamic Positioning", which in short is a computer that controls thrusters to hold position. Multiple reference systems are used such as DGPS, Hydro Acoustics, etc... Usually the draft of the rig while drilling is somewhere around 19 meters.
 
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