Stopping oil drilling in the North Sea?

It was unsurprising that there has been a lot of comment on the web about European politicians demanding a stop to drilling in the North Sea in the wake of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The implication is that this is a stop to all drilling operations.

However, when you look a bit more closely the statements that I have seen all refer to “deep sea” or “deep water” drilling.

oil drilling

Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon rig that blew up in the Gulf of Mexico, with the loss of 11 lives, was drilling at a depth of around 1,500 metres. That really is deep water.

By comparison, the average depth of the North Sea is 90 metres and the deepest point, according to my online research, is 725 metres – less than half the depth of the Deepwater Horizon wells.

The politicians statements about a moratorium on “deep sea” or “deep water” drilling would – if it were to be granted – simply not apply to most North Sea drilling.

Do the politicians realise that? Or, is it a case of wanting to be seen doing something?

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