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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






DISCOVERIES

Figure 54 shows the number of deepwater fields discovered each year, according to MMS criteria, since 1975. (See appendices A and B for listings of deepwater projects and discoveries.)

Figure 54. Number of deepwater field discoveries and resulting number of producing fields. (Click the image to enlarge)
Figure 54. Number of deepwater field discoveries and resulting number of producing fields. (Click the image to enlarge)

The number of field discoveries for any given year is usually greater than the number of fields that actually go on production.

The difference between the number of field discoveries and the number of those that actually produce increased in the late 1990ís, since these recent field discoveries have had little time to reach production.

Because of this lag between exploratory drilling and first production, the true impact of recent, large deepwater exploratory successes is not yet reflected in MMS proved and unproved reserve estimates.

In an attempt to capture the impact of these deepwater exploratory successes, figure 55 adds MMS-known resource estimates and industry-announced discoveries to the proved and unproved reserve volumes.

Figure 55. Number of deepwater field discoveries and new hydrocarbons found (MMS reserves, MMS resources, and industryannounced
discoveries). (Click the image to enlarge)
Figure 55. Number of deepwater field discoveries and new hydrocarbons found (MMS reserves, MMS resources, and industryannounced discoveries). (Click the image to enlarge)

The industry-announced discovery volumes contain considerable uncertainty, are based on limited drilling, include numerous assumptions, and have not been confirmed by independent MMS analyses.

They do, however, illustrate recent activity better than using only MMS proved reserve numbers.

The apparent decline of proved reserve additions in recent years is caused by the previously mentioned developmental lag.

Figure 56 illustrates the distribution of recent hydrocarbon additions in the GOM, categorized by water depth.

Figure 56. BOE added (reserves, known resources, and industry-announced discoveries). (Click the image to enlarge)
Figure 56. BOE added (reserves, known resources, and industry-announced discoveries). (Click the image to enlarge)

The combination of industry-announced deepwater discoveries and MMS estimates illustrates that deepwater exploration is adding significantly to the GOM hydrocarbon inventory.

These large additions show the excellent potential for continued growth in deepwater activity levels.



















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Cover and Title Page

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND

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