Gulf of Mexico summary report, September 1984: outer continental shelf oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico and their onshore impacts.
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The Gulf of Mexico continues to be the mostdeveloped Continental Shelf region in the United States and the world. Statistics for the Gulf show that in 1983 the region accounted for 93.7 percent of domestic Federal offshore oil and gas production, respectively. While shallow water areas of the Continental Shlef of the Gulf have been responsible for most of this productioon, industry's interset recently has turne to the outer Shelf and upper Slope areas where new technologies in deepwater drilling will allow future production, assuming the resources are present. Between December 1982 and December 1983, the number of identified oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf increased from 537 to 572. This represents a net increase of 35 fields discovered in 1983, compared with 32 in 1982, with 23 in 1981, with 50 in 1980, with 51 in 1979, and with 25 in 1978. The number of active fields inceased from 521 in 1982 to 556 in 1983, and fields for which reserve estimates have been made increased from 468 to 505. As of August 1, 1984, there had been 22,151 offshore oil and gas wells drilled in the federally regulated part of the Gulf of Mexico, the majority of them (19,371) off the coast of louisiana. At that time there were also 3.155 active oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico, of which 1,392 were producing. The record- setting Central Gulf Mexico Lease Sale 72 (May 1983) was the first areawide sale held in the region. In all, the first four areawide sales in the Gulf resulted in the leasing of more than 8 million acres in less than a year. The significant increase in the pace of offshore leasing has affected the level of exploratory work offshore, and it is likely to affect production levels. Reserves and production in traditionally worked areas of the Gulf will decrease in the near future, but current work in frontier locations--deepwater blocks and the Eastern PLanning Area--should continue or increase regionwide. Work in Louisiana and Texas State waters continues at a strong pace, and gas discoveries in Mobile Bay, Alabama, portend future development there. Mississippi is preparing for another offshore lease sale, and Florida is considering amendments to its offshore leasing program. The gulf's offshore pipeline system consists of more than 14,600 miles of pipe. There has been a lack of significant activity in pipeline additions during the last year, with only one new major pipeline network coming on line. The existing gas supply bubble (that is, a short-term oversupply of gas relative to demand) and leveling of oil demend growth rates are responsible, to a great extent, for this inactivity. Deepwater port facilities have been developed to handle huge quantities of Middle Eastern oil imported aboard supertankers. However, efforts to curb oil imports and to purchase hydrocarbons from more stable and less distant nations, as well as thw worldwide surplus of tnakers, have led to a shift in import patterns and have left the Gulf's deepwater facilities underutilized. An impressive network of onshore support services and facilities has been established throughout the coastal zone adjacent to the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas to service both onshore and offshore oil and gas operations. Although the coast of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico lacks this infrastructure, reflecting the scarcity of activity in the area, support facility siting studies have been conducted. Postproduction facilities in the region are employing advanced technology in their operations, providing greater refining capabilities, and decreasing dependance on regional hydrocarbon stocks.