MMS increases offshore oil, gas estimates

The US Minerals Management Service has increased its assessment of undiscovered offshore resources 65% for conventionally recoverable oil and 35% for gas.

The agency uses the estimates in its management of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leasing program.

MMS Director Walt Rosenbusch said, "The estimated increases calculated for the OCS petroleum resources are primarily due to recent successes in deepwater exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. The previous assessment was completed in 1995, and since that time there has been remarkable activity in deepwater areas."

MMS determines oil and gas resource estimates for two categories: undiscovered conventionally recoverable resources and undiscovered economically recoverable resources. Factors such as recent geophysical, geological, technological, and economic conditions are considered.

Undiscovered conventionally recoverable resources are the potential hydrocarbons of an area that can be produced using current technology, without any consideration of economic feasibility.

Undiscovered economically recoverable resources are the portion of the undiscovered conventionally recoverable hydrocarbons that can be explored, developed, and commercially produced at given costs and price considerations using present or reasonably foreseeable technology.

MMS said conventionally recoverable resources are 24.9 billion bbl and 122.6 tcf for offshore Alaska, 2.3 billion bbl and 28 tcf for the Atlantic, 37.1 billion bbl and 192.7 tcf for the Gulf of Mexico, and 10.7 billion bbl and 18.9 tcf for the Pacific. The totals are 75 billion bbl and 362.2 tcf.

MMS said economically recoverable resources (at $18 bbl and $2.11/Mcf) are: 3.3 billion bbl and 1.6 tcf for Alaska, 500 million bbl and 6.6 tcf for the Atlantic, 17.5 billion bbl and 100.3 tcf for the Gulf of Mexico, and 5.3 billion bbl and 8.3 tcf for the Pacific. The totals are 26.6 billion bbl and 116.8 tcf.

The agency will use the 2000 resource assessment while considering an offshore leasing program for 2002-2007 and initiatives such as deep water royalty relief, and in the overall management of offshore oil and gas resources.

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