New technologies have enabled our industry to develop newly found “giant fields” in some of the most hostile environments on our planet. Deep, high-temperature and high-pressure wells, and wells drilled in deep water are extremely expensive. Drilling is now being done in water depths approaching 10 000 ft. This is described in the following excerpt from a deepwater report on the Web site of the United States Department of Interior Minerals Management Services (MMS): “Chevron U.S.A. set a then new world record water depth for drilling an exploratory well in August 1998 on Atwater Valley Block 118 in 7718 feet...

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