The complexity and sophistication of the technology required for deepwater oil and natural gas drilling makes the process in some ways comparable to space exploration, said Matt Lamey, project manager at the Lucius field for Anadarko Petroleum. "When you think about the equipment you need on the sea floor, the flow lines, controls — everything else you need to safely and efficiently produce up to a floating vessel on the surface, then get it back to a market — the technology to get all that done is nothing short of a space program," he said.

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