Outer Continental Shelf Oil & Gas Assessment 2006

The Bureau has completed an assessment of the undiscovered technically recoverable resources (UTRR) underlying offshore waters on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). This assessment was based on information available as of January 1, 2003, including information obtained from new exploration activities in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Scotian Basin Offshore Canada.

The Bureau estimates that the quantity of undiscovered technically recoverable resources ranges from 66.6 to 115.3 billion barrels of oil and 326.4 to 565.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The mean or average estimate is 85.9 billion barrels of oil and 419.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. These volumes of UTRR for the OCS represent about 60 percent of the total oil and 40 percent of the total natural gas estimated to be contained in undiscovered fields in the United States. The mean estimates for both oil and gas increased about 15 percent compared to the 2001 assessment. For the oil resources, the vast majority of this increase occurred in the deepwater areas of the Gulf of Mexico, while for gas resources the majority of the increase was in deep gas plays located beneath the shallow water shelf of the Gulf of Mexico.


Undiscovered Technically Recoverable Resources by Type and Region

These estimates represent the potential quantities of undiscovered hydrocarbons that can be conventionally produced using existing or reasonably foreseeable technology, without any consideration of economic feasibility. Current technology includes drilling in water in excess of 3000 meters (10,000 feet) deep and to subsea depths in excess of 9600 meters (31,700 feet).

The Bureau periodically conducts comprehensive assessments of the undiscovered oil and gas resources on the OCS. The last comprehensive inventory was completed in 2001, with an interim update in 2003 to reflect significant changes in natural gas potential in the Gulf of Mexico. The resource assessments also include production and reserve estimates for the OCS as well as estimates of undiscovered economically recoverable resources. Undiscovered economically recoverable resources (UERR), presented in the form of price-supply curves, represent the portion of the undiscovered technically recoverable hydrocarbons that can be explored, developed and commercially produced at given costs and price considerations.

The results of this assessment, published as a brochure entitled Assessment of Undiscovered Technically Recoverable Oil and Gas Resources of the Nation’s Outer Continental Shelf, 2006 is available in electronic form below or in printed form free of charge, as long as supplies last, from the Bureau Resource Evaluation Division, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, Virginia 20166.