GoM reaching ‘new equilibrium’ in post-Macondo deepwater activity

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – E&P activity in deepwater Gulf of Mexico is resurging and will reach a “new equilibrium” in 2013, says Wood Mackenzie.

The Macondo incident slowed industry momentum in the Gulf, but it now is seeing a high level of investment, a wide range of opportunities, and a large number of explorers, notes the industry research company.

Wood Mackenzie predicts that more than $20 billion will be spent through 2015 on drilling development wells alone for onstream projects. Over that time, $27 billion will go to subsea and facility spending on big new projects such as Jack/St. Malo and Hadrian.

After a decline due in part to low drilling levels in 2010/2011, “we expect regional production to exceed 2009’s peak in 2018 at 2 MMboe/d,” says Lauren Payne, GoM analyst for Upstream Research at Wood Mackenzie.

As for exploration, Julie Wilson, senior analyst in Exploration Service says, “We expect more than $70 billion to be spent … in the region by 2030, more than all the other key deepwater provinces combined.”

The variety of opportunities offered in the GoM and the number of active operators sets the region apart from the rest of the world. Despite regulatory changes, the environment “above-ground” in the United States still is among the most attractive anywhere.

Technology challenges and constraints on capital, equipment, and personnel supplies will affect project selection, but “we are well on our way to achieving this ‘new equilibrium’ in the GoM in 2013 and the future of GoM from there is very bright,” says Payne.


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