By J.T. Oden

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The international law of the sea sets a general framework, leaving the matters of detail to be regulated by the national laws. This process creates rules and regulations that can widely vary from one country/state to the other. In relation to oil and gas exploitation, the international law of the sea prescribes the area within which any country/­state can regulate such activities and authorizes it to permit drilling platforms to be placed. Such structures should not cause excessive interference with other users of the sea.

FAO reviews the state of the world’s fisheries and when necessary establishes regional fisheries bodies to advice on fisheries management. It also provides assistance to many under developed countries to develop their own fishing industries. UNESCO promotes and coordinates marine scientific research. Legally, the sea is divided up into various zones: territorial, contiguous, exclusive economic zones, and high seas zones. The nearer a zone is to land, the greater the rights of the adjacent country/state to exploit the resources of the zone and regulate activities in the zone.

Over 56% of the costs are associated with the production of the offshore oil and gas, while 44% of the costs are spent on infrastructures needed for transport [23]. Costs triple when going from 30 to 300 m deep and drilling costs can go up 3 to 10 times between wells on land and offshore. Much of the drilling cost is in the riser, which for a well in 1500-m-deep water can cost from $7 to 10 million. Other costs associated with drilling are the costs associated with the type of drilling rig used in the 1500 m water depths; a deep water floating rig can cost more than $100,000 per day to operate and the well may easily take more than 100 days to drill.

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