Photo: Illustration; Source: BOEM

BOEM, BSEE looking to boost Gulf of Mexico oil and gas output

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) are advancing research regarding policies which could help increase oil and gas production from deepwater infrastructure already in place in the Gulf of Mexico.

The study would examine specific economic parameters used by BOEM and BSEE for new and high-cost technologies like extended-reach subsea tiebacks.

Implementation of these parameters could minimize stranded or left behind hydrocarbon resources. This research would apply to developments that might connect to deepwater facilities that have additional production capacity.

Scott Angelle, BSEE Director, said: “This research will help ensure our nation continues to achieve top oil and gas production by reducing stranded assets. A cursory review of the preliminary data suggests the time is right to usher in updated policies to ensure we are efficiently developing our natural resources and value for the American people”.

BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank added: “BSEE has provided some important initial data, and our team will consider the economic parameters used to examine these extended-reach subsea tieback projects given the capacity that exists in the region. Based on that analysis, BSEE could then have more tools to minimize stranded resources”.

Deepwater production, which comes from depths greater than 200 meters, accounts for 92 per cent of total Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production, and 14 per cent of all domestic oil produced in the U.S.

In 2019, facilities in deepwater Gulf of Mexico averaged a record-breaking 1.7 million barrels of oil per day. About 4 out of 5 deepwater facilities are producing less than 50 per cent of their daily oil production capacity, based on a three-year average of daily production rates.

Through collaboration, BOEM and BSEE identified contingent resources that exist 30-60 miles away from existing facilities. This research will identify any difficulties that new technological advances may face, that could potentially hinder production and project economics.

It is worth noting that the BOEM team began to evaluate the specific features of deepwater facilities, examine whether changes to the economic parameters used by BSEE could lead to expanded production or address other BSEE policy goals, and make recommendations as appropriate.

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