Sixty-Seven Years of Oil and Gas Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico

Deepwater drilling is increasing in the Gulf. Oil companies say it’s safer now, but critics say spills are inevitable.

During the 1980s and 1990s, companies built fixed oil and gas platforms in shallow waters that are 500 feet or less. By the early 2000s these areas became crowded and companies began drilling in deeper water with fewer but larger platforms, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. This graphic does not include floating oil rigs such as the Deepwater Horizon, which account for a small percentage of offshore drilling platforms.

New platform by year Existing platforms

Anna Scalamogna, Ryan Morris NG STAFF.