Report Confirms Continued Energy Expansion into Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

More than half of the active oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) are in water depths greater than 1,000 feet. This continued expansion into the Gulf's deepwater is detailed in the latest deepwater report released by the Minerals Management Service (MMS) at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. The report, Deepwater Gulf of Mexico 2007: Interim Report of 2006 Highlights, chronicles the activities of the oil and gas industry in the deepwater (1,000 ft of water or more) Gulf over the past fifteen years.

"There's solid evidence in both leasing and exploration activities to confirm the oil and gas industry's continued interest and motivation to explore and develop the deepwater frontier in the Gulf of Mexico," said Lars Herbst, acting GOM regional director, MMS. "In 2006, there were 12 new deepwater discoveries announced by oil and gas operators with the deepest being in 7,600 feet of water."

In 2006, 70 percent of the oil and 40 percent of the gas produced in the GOM region came from deepwater leases.

Another indicator of the industry's commitment to producing in deepwater is the record number of technology approvals given in 2006 for use in deeper water depths.

"MMS granted 30 new technology approvals in 2006," noted Herbst. "This set a record for the number of approvals for first - time use of technology in deepwater."

The leasing activity also showed an increase in interest in deepwater. From 2005 to 2006, the number of tracts in 1,500 to 4,999 feet water depth range receiving bids increased by 32 percent while the number of tracts in 5,000 to 7,499 feet water depth range receiving bids increased by 29 percent.

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