BP yesterday announced a joint venture with Rosneff to carry out exploration and development of oilfields in the Arctic Ocean and vast area’s of Siberia, Greenpeace have stated that they have not learned the lessons from the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps not the lessons that Greenpeace would like to see followed, but they have learned a number of business lessons.
First, is that in the USA risk to reward ratio is out of balance, financial disaster was staring them in the face and politicians were piling in to them. Lawyers standing in line to sue, is that the best environment to carry out a major reconstruction of the company and place it back on a sound footing? No, time to move on. Yes it’s a risky business, when you are working at the extremes of the environment and technological expertise there will always be dangers. But if nobody took any risks we would still be living in caves being eaten by leopards, perhaps that is how some people want things to be. If you were the head of a major international company and you wanted to build a new car assembly plant or an oil refinery would you build it in the USA, something goes wrong you are abused by every second-rate politician in the country, better to invest in China, Russia, India, Angola, Brazil, these countries are prepared to accept a certain degree of risk and danger is inherent in any new venture.
Look at the trans Alaska oil pipeline, it is in a state of decline from a high of 2m barrels a day down to 300,000. no fresh exploration is likely in the forseeable future, which American oil major will take the risk, not without government guarantees of immunity from prosecution and government insurance to cover any liabilities, another part of America in decline.
Russia also has some thing else to offer, very large nuclear submarines, with some modification, new superstructures ect they would make excellent drilling platforms anchored on the sea bed. Not having to drill from a mile away from a semi-submersible would be a great advantage, and being able to drill under the polar ice cap, who would know what they are doing?