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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






INTRODUCTION

Photo of Drilling Ship
The deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is an important oil and gas province and an integral part of the Nationís oil and gas supply. A major milestone was reached early in 2000 when more oil was produced from the deepwater GOM than from the shallow-water GOM. Deepwater oil production continues to increase and is rapidly approaching the all-time shallow-water GOM record set in 1971. In addition, deepwater drilling reached record levels in 2001. The average sizes of deepwater GOM field discoveries are several times larger than the average shallow-water field discoveries. In fact, since the last version of this report (Baud et al., 2002) some of the largest hydrocarbon accumulations ever discovered in the GOM were found in the deepwater area. The deepwater fields are some of the most prolific producers in the GOM.

This report is divided into five sections.

The Background section discusses

  • highlights of current deepwater GOM activity,
  • new discoveries and geologic plays,
  • environmental issues,
  • technology concerns, and
  • the existing deepwater infrastructure.
The Leasing section discusses
  • historical water-depth and bidding trends in deepwater leasing,
  • leaseholdings of major oil companies compared with those of nonmajor oil companies, and
  • future deepwater lease activity.
The Drilling and Development section discusses
  • deepwater rig activity,
  • historical drilling statistics,
  • the transition to deeper wells and deeper water,
  • the complexity of deepwater development systems, and
  • the progress of deepwater infrastructure development.
The Reserves and Production section discusses
  • historical deepwater reserve additions;
  • large future reserve additions associated with recently announced discoveries;
  • discoveries in new, lightly tested plays with large potential;
  • potential for numerous, large future deepwater field discoveries;
  • historical trends in deepwater production;
  • deepwater production from various companies; and
  • high deepwater production rates.
The Summary and Conclusions section discusses
  • increasing deepwater oil and gas production and anticipated new fields;
  • expected increases in deepwater discoveries (these expectations are based on drilling of the large deepwater lease inventory);
  • lags between leasing, drilling, and initial production;
  • difficulties evaluating deepwater leases before their terms expire; and
  • significant changes since the 2002 report.



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Cover and Title Page

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND

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