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Unformatted text preview: e rock to get to hydrocarbon‐bearing reservoirs or “pay zones.” The Gulf of Mexico is home to a large number of hydrocarbon reservoirs. Since 1947, more than 50,000 wells have been drilled in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 97% of the oil produced on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (“OCS”) is produced in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. There are currently nearly 7,000 active leases in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, 64% of which are in deepwater. 12 Since 1995, deepwater drilling activity has increased significantly in the Gulf. In 2001, U.S. deepwater offshore oil production surpassed shallow water offshore oil production for the first time. As of May 2010, operators drilled approximately 700 wells in water depths equal to or greater than 5,000 feet, the approximate depth of the Macondo well. 13 Deepwater reservoirs can yield a high volume of oil and gas. Production rates for deepwater wells are typically much higher than in shallow water wells. The initial well or wells drilled into a formation are referred to as “exploratory wells,” which an operator drills to determine whether a...
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