Bob Tippee Managing Editor-Economics and Exploration By offering oil and gas producers a full menu of opportunities, the Gulf of Mexico has moved beyond its role as mainstay of U.S. offshore drilling. In the past 3-4 years the gulf has become a unique offshore play accessible to once-landlocked U.S. independents. More recently, it has attracted a growing number of non-U.S. producers. So especially in shelf waters less than 600 ft deep, small operators and non-U.S. companies are joining major companies and large independents that have worked the gulf for years. The population increase means new competition for leases, rigs, a...

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