MMS announces release of latest GOM energy forecast

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HOUSTON –- In a press conference at the 2009 Offshore Technology Conference, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced the release of the Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Production Forecast: 2009-2018 and the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico 2009: Interim Report of 2008 Highlights.

In the forecast report, Gulf of Mexico (GOM) oil production is forecasted to increase substantially over the next several years, possibly reaching 1.8 million barrels of oil per day. GOM gas production is forecasted to continue its decline over the next four years due to aging projects in shallow water. Future increases depend on the successful development of undiscovered resources in the Gulf.

“The Gulf of Mexico is one of the single largest suppliers of oil and gas to the U.S. market,” explained GOM Regional Director, Lars Herbst. “With continued interest and activity in deepwater areas of the Gulf of Mexico, we anticipate that oil production will continue to be strong with a large portion of production coming from projects in deeper water depths.”

In 2008, GOM oil and gas operators announced that 15 deepwater discoveries and seven new projects began production in 1,000 feet (305 meters) of water or greater, the measurement used to describe deepwater activity. Current leasing, exploration and production activities are detailed in the latest deepwater report, which presents a synopsis of deepwater oil and gas industry activities in the Gulf of Mexico over the past 17 years.

“The offshore energy industry continues to confront and overcome technological challenges as energy production moves into deeper waters in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Regional Director Herbst. “As the trend to deepwater continues, our emphasis is focused on safe and environmentally responsible energy development, which remains a central part of the mission at MMS.”

In 2008, 57 percent of all GOM leases were located in water depths greater than 1,000 feet with 141 producing deepwater projects. Additionally, 73% of the tracts receiving bids in the three lease sales held in 2008 were in deepwater areas of the GOM.

Copies of the GOM energy forecast and deepwater report can be found at Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Production Forecast: 2009-2018 and Deepwater Gulf of Mexico 2009: Interim Report of 2008 Highlights.

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