Deep Sea Gold Rush

By the time you read this, I’ll be at sea in the Gulf of Mexico. I will have taken off from an airport near New Orleans in a helicopter, and flown south for over two hours. The distance will be well over 200 miles, toward a spot in the open ocean where the water depth is over 7,000 feet…

The idea is for the pilot to circle into the wind, and put the helicopter down on the deck of the vessel pictured below. Here she is, in all her haze gray glory. Meet the Transocean Discoverer Inspiration.

What is this floating giant? In the big scheme of things, Inspiration is the future of the world’s oil supply. Inspiration, and other ships much like her, is the great, gray hope for anyone who plans to use liquid hydrocarbons anytime in the next 50 or 100 years. If you use oil, then you had better want this baby to work as advertised…

There’s a new deep-sea gold rush going on, except the prize is oil. Inspiration is among the vanguard of a new class of technology. The designers have been building ’em bigger, stronger and more powerful. The ships can lift more, string longer drill systems, go farther down and find the really hard stuff.

Inspiration is among the largest drilling vessels ever to hit the water, and oh, what a career is laid out for her. In case you missed it, the future is now.

Byron King
for The Daily Reckoning