>> In the middle of the waters of the Gulf of Mexico lies BPs massive Thunder Horse deep sea drilling oil platform. The facility can produce up to 265,000 barrels of oil per day with workers commuting here by helicopter from the Louisiana coast working in two week shifts. BP recently took five congressmen on a tour of this $5 billion hub, asking lawmakers to ease financial regulations related to deep sea water drilling, but not safety requirements.
Reuters reporter, Jessica Resnick-Ault traveled with the group.>> I'm about 150 miles off the coast of Louisiana, what you see behind me is a platform that also has drilling operations and quarters for over 300 people to live. We've been here with a congressional delegation that is looking at expanding access for drilling in the US, particularly focused on the Gulf of Mexico.
If successful, the regulatory changes could encourage more drilling projects and more development like Thunder Horse.>> Despite cratering oil prices and the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in 2010, which killed 11 people, causing wide spread environmental damage, BP is betting the Gulf is still prime real estate. And drilling here is worth the money and risk it entails.
Rivals Exxon, Chevron, and Shell have maintained Gulf operations, but are more focused on expanding shale production. And Freeport-McMoran and Devon energy have pulled out of Gulf drilling entirely in recent years. But the Gulf is still one of America's most prolific oil producing areas, trailing only Texas on shore production, and BP wants to capitalize on it.
>> They're drilling a well in 6,300 foot of water, they are drilling about 23,500 foot of rock.>> BP also using the tour to tell how its new technological advances can unlock even more oil in the Gulf at at lower cost. That combined with new safety measures BP hopes will convince regulators that the time is right to expand drilling in the Gulf.