The bigger question is why are they drilling so deep? There is as much oil and gas in the near offshore areas of the GOM and the Atlantic coast as all the current PnP reserves in the US today.
Keeping up appearences? I dont know.
I do know that you will see Australia emerge over the next ten years as an "energy super power" as our Prime Minister John Howard put it.
I see the M.E being abandoned in the coming years.