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Deepwater Gulf of Mexico - America's Expanding Frontier
SOURCE: U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region






DEFINITIONS

The GOM Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is divided into the Western, Central, and Eastern Planning Areas (figure 1). Many of the data presented in this report are subdivided according to water depth.

These divisions (1,000, 1,500, 5,000, and 7,500 ft) are illustrated in figure 1, along with Deep Water Royalty Relief (DWRR) zones (200, 400, 800, and 1,600 m) for reference.

GOM Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), divided into the Western, Central, and Eastern Planning Areas
Figure 1. The Gulf of Mexico OCS is divided into Western, Central, and Eastern Planning Areas. Water-depth categories used in this report are shown in addition to shaded Deep Water Royalty Relief Act zones. (Click to enlarge)

There are a variety of criteria that can be used to define deepwater. The threshold separating shallow- and deepwater can range from 656-ft (200-m) to 1,500-ft (457-m) water depth. For purposes of this report, deepwater is defined as water depths greater than or equal to 1,000 ft (305 m). Similarly, ultra-deepwater is difficult to define precisely. For purposes of this report, ultra-deepwater is defined as water depths greater than or equal to 5,000 ft (1,524 m).

A few other definitions are useful at this point:


More detailed definitions may be found in the annual Estimated Oil and Gas Reserves, Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf, December 31, 2000 report (Crawford et al., 2003).

This report refers to deepwater developments as both fields (as defined above) and by operator-designated project names. A field name is assigned to a lease or a group of leases so that natural gas and oil resources, reserves, and production can be allocated on the basis of the unique geologic feature that contains the hydrocarbon accumulation. Appendices A and B provide locations, operators, and additional information regarding these fields and projects. The field’s identifying block number corresponds to the first lease qualified by MMS as capable of production or the block where the primary structure is located.

Note that the term “oil” refers to both oil and condensate throughout this report and “gas” includes both associated and nonassociated gas. All production volumes and rates reflect data through December 2002 (the most recent, complete data available at the time of this publication).



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Cover and Title Page

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND

LEASING DRILLING AND DEVELOPMENT RESERVES AND PRODUCTION SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS . . . Feedback