Bob Tippee Managing Editor-Economics and Exploration Bob Williams Senior Staff Writer Offshore exploration and development activity is growing in the shrinking U.S. area where it is allowed. The Gulf of Mexico remains the nation's busiest offshore drilling arena. Brisk leasing during the past several years, the need to replace rapidly depleting natural gas reserves, and the promise of world class oil reserves in water deeper than 1,000 ft drive the action. Off Alaska and California, environmental concerns have stymied development of oil fields that rank among the biggest U.S. oil discoveries of the 1980s. ...

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