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    Environmentalists pushed drilling farther offshore, leading to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico


    Oil companies drill far offshore because that’s where the oil is

    When the Deepwater Horizon exploded and spilled oil into the gulf, some conservatives wrongly suggested that the drilling was taking place so far offshore only because environmentalists prevented drilling closer to the coast. In fact, according to a document issued by the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations reported that in February 2010, Transocean Ltd. -- which owned the Deepwater Horizon rig -- "posted significant quarterly revenue from its ultra-deepwater rigs, while revenue from its shallow-water rigs declined." CFR further reported that "nearly half Transocean's shallow-water rigs have been idle, while its ultra-deepwater rigs were booked through the end of the year." CFR credited the surge in deepwater drilling to the fact that it "just started becoming economically profitable and technically feasible on a large scale."

    Indeed, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), a now-defunct agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, released a report under President Bush in 2004 titled Deep Water: Where the Energy Is. The MMS stated in the report that "our best source of new domestic energy resources lies in the deep water Gulf of Mexico and other frontier areas." MMS reported that due to "declining production" in "near-shore, shallow waters" in the Gulf of Mexico, "energy companies have focused their attention on oil and gas resources in water depths of 1,000 feet and beyond."