Success in deepwater exploration in the Gulf of Mexico improvedthe outlook for both oil and natural gas resources, according to anupdated report by the Minerals Management Service. The 2000 MMSresource assessment now indicates that there is a 65% increase inconventional recoverable oil reserves and a 35% increase in naturalgas on the outer continental shelf.

MMS, which conducted its last assessment in 1995, uses themeasurements to manage its offshore program. In the past fiveyears, “there has been remarkable activity in deepwater areas,”said MMS director Walt Rosenbusch.

MMS determines oil and natural gas resource estimates for twocategories: undiscovered conventionally recoverable resources andundiscovered economically recoverable resources. Geophysical,technological and economic conditions all are considered in theassessment.

Undiscovered conventionally recoverable resources represent thepotential hydrocarbons of an area that can be produced usingcurrent technology, and do not consider economic feasibility.However, the undiscovered economically recoverable resourcesrepresent the portion of the undiscovered conventionallyrecoverable hydrocarbons that can be explored, developed andcommercially produced at given costs and price considerations usingcurrent or “reasonably foreseeable technology.”

Total OCS estimates for conventionally recoverable resources nowstand at 75 bbl and 362.2 Tcf. By area, they are Alaska, 24.9 bbland 122.6 Tcf; Atlantic, 2.3 bbl and 28 Tcf; Gulf of Mexico, 37.1bbl and 192.7 Tcf; Pacific, 10.7 bbl and 18.9 Tcf.

The OCS totals for economically recoverable resources, using anestimate of $18 per bbl and $2.11 Mcf now stand at 26.6 bbl and116.8 Tcf. By area, they are Alaska, 3.3 bbl and 1.6 Tcf; Atlantic,0.5 bbl and 6.6 Tcf; Gulf of Mexico, 17.5 bbl and 100.3 Tcf; andPacific, 5.3 bbl and 8.3 Tcf.

Carolyn Davis, Houston

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