EIA says OCS development lead time cut

A U.S. Energy Information Adminstration report says dramatic advances in offshore drilling technology have tripled the water depth record for gas or oil production on the U.S. outer continental shelf from 1,760 ft in 1989 to 5,376 ft in 1997. Since then, operators have drilled in depths exceeding 7,000 ft. Technological advances also have lessened the time between discovery and initial production for offshore projects, which enhances the expected economic returns. Development times for deepwater prospects have been especially impressive, declining from 10 years for a discovery in 1984 to roughly 2 years for fields discovered in 1996. However, the near-term outlook for offsho...

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