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The Rise of Offshore Oil and Gas Production

On board the Tungsten Explorer drillship (238m long and 100m wide) off the coast of the Congo in March 2013. © MUGUET JULIEN - TOTAL

Offshore, or sea-based, production of oil and gas has been growing since the early 2000s. New technologies are making it possible to move farther and father from the coast and drill at ever-greater water depths, of up to 3,000 meters below the ocean surface. This is where the largest reserves are located. Although offshore production costs are high, they remain competitive with those of other unconventional hydrocarbon reserves. At the same time, technologies have become increasingly sophisticated, with platforms, production vessels, bigger and better drilling ships and robotic equipment that can function as an undersea factory.  Technological progress and the systematic anticipation of risks are helping to improve safety for a type of production that is set to expand. 

L’offshore : une part grandissante dans l’exploitation pétrolière et gazière

Offshore oilDescribes crude oil produced offshore, either in shallow water (depths up to 700 meters) using standard methods, or in deep water... and gas is most frequently drilled from fixed-platform, shallow-water complexes, but new technologies are making it possible for operators to move farther offshoreRefers to sea-based oil exploration and production operations, as in "offshore license" or "offshore drilling". in waters up to 3,000 meters deep. These areas are where the largest reserves are located. Production costs, although high, are in line with those of other unconventional hydrocarbonOrganic compound consisting of carbon and hydrogen. Hydrocarbons are the principal constituents of crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products. resources.

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Les défis technologiques de l’offshore profond

Exploration and production operations in increasingly deep and difficult waters demand advanced technical expertise. Continuous technological progress has led to the development of large-scale platforms and production vessels, as well as high-performance drillships and robotic equipment that resembles a subsea factory. 

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Exploitation offshore : le souci de la sécurité

Ever since offshoreRefers to sea-based oil exploration and production operations, as in "offshore license" or "offshore drilling". production first started to develop in 1950, it has had to deal with safety issues, just like any other complex industrial activity. The Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, which created the longest oil spill in history, and recent environmental campaigns against Arctic drillingThe process of boring a hole into the ground using special equipment..., have become etched in the public mind. Technological advances, particularly in the field of robotics, coupled with effective risk management, can improve safety in an industry that is set to expand. 

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