IsoMetrix marine seismic data being acquired in the Barents Sea.

Feds OK first-in-decades oil studies off East Coast

The Obama administration on Friday gave the oil industry the green light to use air guns and sonic sensors to search for possible oil and gas under Atlantic waters, overriding environmentalists concerned that the seismic research can harm whales and other marine life.
Energy industry representatives examine Gulf maps before a lease sale in New Orleans. (Photo: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management)

Feds roll out details on Western Gulf lease sale

The Obama administration on Thursday released final details for its planned Aug. 20 sale of oil and gas drilling rights in the western Gulf of Mexico.
Paul Morel used to go out to Shell's Olympus platform to help operate it. Now he works in a New Orleans office. (Ryan Holeywell/Houston Chronicle)

Technology lets producers move jobs from platforms to land

Shell and other offshore players to move a growing number of jobs historically performed at sea onto land.
Noble Corp. Bully I and Globetrotter I drillships work on a Shell project in the Gulf of Mexico. (Noble Corp.)

Noble Corp. spinoff Paragon announces $1.2 billion debt offering

Paragon Offshore Ltd., the spinoff of offshore drilling contractor Noble Corp., today announced plans to issue $1.2 billion in private debt.
Brian Salerno, then-deputy commandant for operations for the U.S. Coast Guard, testifies during a hearing before a House subcommittee in Washington, D.C. in April 2012. Salerno now is the  head of the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Etta Smith/U.S. Coast Guard)

Regulator says collaboration needed offshore

One of the biggest obstacles in boosting the safety of offshore drilling is making sure a massive web of contractors and oil companies are working collaboratively to prevent accidents, a top federal regulator says.
Business deal finalized, congratulations!

Norwegian oil services strike averted

Norway’s Industri Energi union and the oil and gas producer lobby reached an agreement on pay, averting a strike at companies including Halliburton Co., Schlumberger and Baker Hughes.
Oil facilities pop up from the shallow continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico. More than five decades after the shallow waters of the Gulf were first explored, it is still being tapped. (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / Houston Chronicle)

House votes to expand offshore drilling

Even before the House voted 229-185 to force the federal government to allow offshore drilling off the South Carolina, Virginia and California coasts, lawmakers admitted the plan was going nowhere. But bill backers are hoping it will send a strong signal to the Obama administration that it should give oil and gas companies a chance to drill in Atlantic waters.
In June, GE tested this prototype 20,000 psi ram blowout preventer at its Houston Technology Center. The 20ksi program also includes new wellheads, connectors, control systems, and riser systems. (GE Oil & Gas)

GE to design, build new generation of blowout preventers

Danish rig contractor Maersk Drilling is turning to GE engineers in Houston to build a new generation of deep-water blowout preventers designed to handle the highest reservoir pressures the industry has ever tackled.
The Maersk Developer's derrick supports two sets of drawworks, allowing some operations to be performed simultaneously. (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / Houston Chronicle)

Video: Onboard the Maersk Developer

Take a look at operations on the Maersk Developer as it drills an exploratory well for Statoil in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Stygiomedusa gigantea jellyfish is one of the largest in the world, with tentacles that reach 20 feet long. Scientists didn't know it existed in the Gulf of Mexico until they were caught on camera by an ROV (remotely operated vehicle). (Photo: LSU)

Deep-water drillers discover creatures as well as crude (video)

Massive oil fields aren’t the only discoveries emerging from the drilling resurgence in the Gulf of Mexico.