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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






RESERVES AND PRODUCTION

The deepwater GOM has contributed major additions to the total reserves in the GOM.

Figure 51 shows the proved reserves added each year by water-depth category.

Figure 51. Proved reserve additions. (Click the image to enlarge)
Figure 51. Proved reserve additions. (Click the image to enlarge)

Additions from the shallow waters of the GOM declined in recent years but, beginning in 1975, the deepwater area started contributing significant new reserves.

Between 1975 and 1983, the majority of these additions were from discoveries in slightly more than 1,000 ft (305 m) of water.

It was not until 1984 that major additions came from water depths greater than 1,500 ft (457 m).

There is often a significant lag between a successful exploratory well and its hydrocarbons being produced.

The success of an exploratory well may remain concealed from the public for several years until the operator requests a “Determination of Well Producibility” from MMS.

A successful MMS determination then “qualifies” the lease as producible and the discovery is placed in a field.

The discovery date of that field is then defined as the TD (total depth) date of the field’s first well that encountered significant hydrocarbons.

Hydrocarbon reserves are still considered unproved until it is clear that the field will go on production.

Then the reserves move into MMS’s proved category.

Figure 52 includes both proved and unproved reserves for each water-depth category.

Figure 52. Proved and unproved reserve additions. (Click the image to enlarge)
Figure 52. Proved and unproved reserve additions. (Click the image to enlarge)

This figure shows declining reserve additions in shallow water, similar to figure 51, but reveals significantly more deepwater reserve additions and large significant unproved reserve additions in water depths greater than 5,000 ft (1,524 m) beginning in 1998.

Figure 53 illustrates the most important feature of the deepwater field discoveries, that their average size is many times larger than the average size of shallow-water fields.

Figure 53. Average field size using proved and unproved reserves. (Click the image to enlarge)
Figure 53. Average field size using proved and unproved reserves. (Click the image to enlarge)

During the last 10 years, the average shallow-water field added approximately 5 MMBOE of proved and unproved reserves.

In contrast, the average deepwater field added over 86 MMBOE of proved and unproved reserves.























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Cover and Title Page

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND

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