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The return of deepwater drilling: By the numbers
Nearly two years after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, deepwater drilling has regained momentum around the world — even in the Gulf
Oil rigs off the coast of Long Beach, Calif.: The Obama administration has approved more than 400 drilling permits since the BP oil spill nearly two years ago.
Oil rigs off the coast of Long Beach, Calif.: The Obama administration has approved more than 400 drilling permits since the BP oil spill nearly two years ago.
Tim Rue/Corbis
W

hen BP's explosion-wrecked Deepwater Horizon oil rig was bleeding millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico from April to August of 2010, an overwhelming number of critics questioned the safety of deepwater oil drilling. Those days seem to be long gone. It's been more than a year since the Obama administration ended its post-spill moratorium on deepwater Gulf wells, and today, deepwater drilling is expanding in the waters off Mexico and Cuba, in the Mediterranean, and off the coast of East Africa. "We need the oil," Rice University energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe tells The New York Times. "The industry will have to improve and regulators will have to adjust, but the public will have to deal with the risk of drilling in deep waters or get out of their cars." Here, a numerical look at the resurgence of deepwater drilling:

25
Rigs operating in the U.S.-controlled Gulf of Mexico a year ago

40
Active rigs in the U.S. Gulf today

5
Active rigs BP has in the Gulf today

5
Rigs BP operated in the Gulf before the spill

8
Rigs BP expects to have up and running in the Gulf by year's end

400+
Drilling permits approved by the Obama administration since the BP spill

61
Drilling permits for water deeper than 500 feet issued in the last 12 months

67
Drilling permits for water deeper than 500 feet issued in the 12 months before the spill

$3.76
Average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. today

$2.86
Average price for a gallon of gas on April 19, 2010 — the day before the spill began

2
Deepwater oil spills, in China and Brazil, since the BP spill, each leaking more than 3,200 barrels

1.3 million
Daily barrels of oil produced in the U.S. Gulf in 2011

2 million
Daily barrels of oil expected to come from the U.S. Gulf by 2020

4 million+
Barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf during the 2010 disaster, according to government estimates

20 million
Acres of federal waters the Obama administration opened to drilling in December 2011

191
Drilling blocks auctioned off at that time

11
Drilling blocks won by BP, pending a legal challenge

400 million
Estimated barrels of oil in those new blocks

$330 million
Amount the leases are worth to the federal government

$7.8 billion
Settlement BP reached March 2 with individuals and businesses suing over the Gulf spill

$17.6 billion
Federal civil pollution fines BP could face for its handling of the spill

$37 billion
Amount BP has set aside to cover spill costs

Sources: Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, New Orleans Times-Picayune, New York Times

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