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Blown Oil Well will cripple oil production “for decades”

Oil production hit for decades after BP spill

A deep sea drilling moratorium will leave global supplies depleted just as demand gets greater

By David Strahan

Even as the first oil from BP’s stricken Macondo well in the US Gulf of Mexico washed ashore this weekend, and as the clamour mounts, experts claim the slick will be nothing like as catastrophic as forecast – for either the environment or the oil industry. However, some analysts warn the accident could still seriously hurt global oil supply later this decade.

The fate of the Louisiana coastline is in the hands of BP engineers working to place a cofferdam, or 100 tonne steel and concrete funnel, over the worst leaks, using remote-controlled submarines a mile down on the seabed. If the operation succeeds early next week, as BP hopes, it should capture around 85 per cent of the leaking oil, sharply reducing the potential impact. “Once they have the cofferdam in place they’re almost home and dry”, says Dr Simon Boxall, an oil spill expert from the University of Southampton, “if they succeed, this won’t even make it into the top 100 oil spills by volume”.

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