Now, and for the near future, the Gulf of Mexico will remain the most developed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) region in the United States and the world. Virtually all production from the U.S. OCS emanates from the Gulf of Mexico. In calendar year 1981, for the two primary categories of hydrocarbons produced from the OCS, oil/condensate and gas, Gulf production accounted for over 94 and 99 percent, respectively. Oil production for 1981 was 0.27 billion barrels, and gas production was 4.84 trillion cubic feet. Although most of the shallow-water areas of the Gulf of Mexico Continental Shelf have been explored, considerable amounts of hydrocarbons may yet be discovered in deepwater locations. Industry has been developing the technology to explore deepwater areas, and interest in these portions of the Gulf is increasing.
As of December 1981, the total of all identified oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico OCS increased to 505 from 482 at the end of the previous year; this net increase of 23 fields discovered in 1981 compares to net increases of 50 in 1980, 51 in 1979, and 25 in 1978. The number of active fields increased from 466 in 1981, and fields for which reserve estimates have been made increased from 419 to 445. As of January 1982, 19,736 offshore oil and gas wells had been drilled in the Gulf of Mexico OCS; most of the wells (17,257) are off the coast of Louisiana. Currently, there are 2,027 active oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico; 1,200 of them are producing leases.
The Department of the Interior's 5-year OCS oil and gas leasing schedule projects 2 to 3 Gulf of Mexico lease sales per year through 1987, for a total of 12 offerings, and starting in 1983, the Gulf will be divided into three planning areas. Resource estimates issued for the following Gulf of Mexico lease sales are as follows: Lease Sale 67--75.16 million barrels of oil and 1.03 trillion cubic feet of gas; Lease Sale 69--48.24 million barrels of oil and .785 trillion cubic feet of gas; Lease Sale 72--97 million barrels of oil and 1.04 trillion cubic feet of gas; Lease Sale 74--29 million barrels of oil and .525 trillion cubic feet of gas; and Lease Sale 79--123 million barrels of oil and .157 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Since 1972, oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has declined each year, and gas production, thought to have reached its peak in 1981, is also expected to begin a noticeable decline. To date, most of the oil and gas discovered in the Gulf has occurred on the Texas-Louisiana Shelf, but in the future, oil and gas exploration is likely to include a number of areas where previous leasing has not been extensive. The West Florida Shelf, especially the area off the coast of southwest Florida and the deepwater areas southeast of the Mississippi River Delta, are potential areas for future exploration. As production begins to decline from mature fields, smaller fields will become economically producible, and implementation of secondary and tertiary recovery techniques will make it possible to extract more oil and gas from reservoirs than was possible previously.
Each year, hundreds of miles of pipelines are added to the existing network in the Gulf of Mexico. Recently, there have been a number of proposals for deepwater ports and transshipment terminals as well as projects including the deepening or widening of existing conventional ports. The process of transportation planning in the Gulf of Mexico is done by industry and government through the Intergovernmental Planning Program and its Regional Technical Working Group.
The Gulf Coast region is an area of significant onshore oil and gas activity, with many cities and towns offering a wide range of services and supplies to onshore and offshore oil operators and their ancillary industries. While the western and central Gulf oil and gas support infrastructure is quite extensive and complex, the support facilities in the eastern Gulf are still in the early stages of development. In the likely event of a decline in Gulf OCS production, imported oil may be substituted for dwindling domestic stocks at Gulf Coast refineries. Planners must consider impacts generated by changes in oil and gas productivity and focus on finding alternative uses for facilities and alternative employment for workers.
|Title||Gulf of Mexico summary report 3 August 1982: A revision of Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico and their onshore impacts: Gulf of Mexico summary report 2, August 1981|
|Authors||Kenneth J. Havran, J.D. Wiese, Karen M. Collins, Frederick N. Kurz|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Open-File Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|