For more than a century, the Law of the Sea has required the master of a ship to render assistance to seafarers in danger of being lost.

No such duty is owed to industry. In 2015, as oil prices plunged, U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GOM) oil and gas operators might have remained adrift.

But, in a twist, they faced their distress by heading deeper, faster and farther out into the sea. And, most importantly, they did it for less money.

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