"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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