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2021

Jun 2021: LLOG (operator, 27.25%) announced first production from the Praline field in Mississippi Canyon Block 74. The Praline well was drilled in 792m of water in 2020 and the field has been tied back to the Pompano platform.

Jun 2021: BP (operator, 50%) and Shell (50%) started production at the Manuel field in the GOM, the 4th of 5 projects it expects to deliver globally in 2021. Manuel is in Mississippi Canyon block 520 in 2,019m of water. It has 2 subsea wells tied back to the Na Kika platform.

May 2021: Shell (operator, 50%) and Chevron (50%) made a significant oil discovery, Leopard-1, in Alaminos Canyon Block 691 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The find comprises 183m of net oil pay at multiple levels in the Perdido Corridor where the Great White, Silvertip, and Tobago fields are already producing and the Whale discovery is due for an FID.

Apr 2021: BP (operator, 50%), Chevron (25%) and Talos Energy (25%) made an oil discovery at the Puma West prospect in 1,252m of water of the Gulf of Mexico, on Green Canyon Block 821.The well was started in late 2019, suspended, then re-started in late 2020. Oil pay was found in Miocene reservoirs.

Jan 2021: Kosmos Energy (17.5%) announced today an oil discovery in the GOM at the Winterfell well, a sub-salt Upper Miocene prospect in Green Canyon Block 944 in 1,600m of water. The well encountered 26m of net oil pay in two intervals. Beacon Offshore is operator.

Jan 2021: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) received 13 bids for 552,802 acres at the 1st oil and gas lease sale for the Coastal Plain of Alaska’s ANWR. The BLM offered 22 tracts spanning 1.1 mm acres. Note that due to an enlightened attitude to global environmental issues, the sale will almost certainly be stopped by the new administration.

2020

Nov 2020: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold GoM Lease Sale 256 on November 18, delayed from August 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It also plans Lease Sale 257, offering all unlicensed federal areas (14,594 blocks) in March 2021. This is the 8th under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

Oct 2020: LLOG (operator, 22.64%), Ridgewood (23.89%), Houston (11.2%), Red Willow (11.15%), EnVen (13.5%), CL&F (6%), and Beacon (11.61%) announced an oil discovery at the Spruance field, first discovered in 2019 in Ewing Bank 877/921 in 489m of water. Both wells will be completed in 2021 with first oil in early 2022. Processing will be via a tieback to the EnVen-operated Lobster platform in EW 873 at a water depth of 236m.

Oct 2020: Talos Energy (operator, 50%), EnVen Energy (33.3%) and Otto Energy (16.7%) have produced first oil and gas from the Bulleit field in the GOM, Green Canyon 21, from the MP reservoir interval. The project has been developed via a 10-mile subsea tieback to the GC 18 Whistler platform.

Oct 2020: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced a lease sale offer of 78 mm acres including all 14,755 available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Lease Sale 256 will be the 7th offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program.  

Jul 2020: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will offer 78.8 mm acres for a lease sale in November 2020. Lease Sale 256 will be the seventh offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program and will include 14,755 un-leased blocks.

Jun 2020: LLOG sanctioned its 2013 Taggart discovery in Mississippi Canyon Block 816 (water depth 1,722m) via tieback to the Devils Tower Spar. Appraisal wells were drilled in 2015 and 2019. It is expected to come online in early 2022 with and produce 27 mm bblsoe over 8 years.

Jun 2020: Shale producers will restore around 500,000 bbl per day of oil output by July, a quarter of what was shut-in since COVID-19 cut demand. It impacts efforts by Saudi Arabia to encourage OPEC+ members to fulfill pledges on cuts. Producers are also pumping oil out of storage. However, shale well output declines by over 60% after Year 1 so less spending on drilling will curtail production over the longer term.

May 2020: The US$13.5bn Freeport LNG export project has launched its 3rd liquefaction train. It is now  capable of producing 15 mmtpa. The terminal started operations in 2008 as an import facility but began LNG export in 2019. It will make an FID on a 4th unit this year.

Apr 2020: Shell (operator, 60%), with Chevron (40%), delayed an FID to 2021 on whether to develop the Whale discovery in the southern part of the GoM. A decision on Whale was planned for 2020 following the large discovery in 2017. Shell.

Apr 2020: Fracturing activity has dropped dramatically due to COVID-19 since its peak in early 2020 and production is set to follow, mostly from natural production decline.

Apr 2020: ConocoPhillips will cut its US oil output by 30% (225,000 bbls per day). Most shale oil producers have shut-in wells as they face full pipelines and storage tanks. It will not complete any more wells in Texas and North Dakota and is halting all hydraulic fracturing.

Apr 2020: Equinor (operator, 50%), Petronas (Progress Resources, 30%) and Repsol (20%) have found oil in the Monument exploration well in the central GOM, Walker Ridge Block 316. The well penetrated 60m of net oil pay in Paleogene sandstones and is in 1,900m of water.

Jan 2020: Hess (operator, 57.14%) and Chevron (42.86%) will bring online the Esox-1 discovery in February as a tieback to the Tubular Bells platform. It was discovered in October 2019 in 1,405m of water and encountered 58 meters of oil-bearing Miocene reservoirs. It lies in Mississippi Canyon 726.

2019

Dec 2019: Chevron (operator, 62.86%) and Total (37.14%) sanctioned the US$5.7 bn, 440 mm bbl equivalent, Anchor project in 1,580m of water in the Green Canyon area of the GOM. It lies 225 kms off Louisiana and will be developed with 7 subsea wells connected to a semisub FPU with a capacity of 75,000 bbls of oil per day plus some gas.  First oil is expected in 2024.

Dec 2019: McDermott reports that Train 1 of the Freeport LNG plant on Quintana Island has begun commercial operations. Freeport LNG Trains 2 and 3 remain on track with first liquids from Train 2 in December and Train 3 scheduled for Q1 2020.

Nov 2019: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Alaska State Office will hold an oil and gas lease sale for 350 tracts in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A).

Oct 2019: Hess (operator, 57.14%), with Chevron (42.86%) announced a discovery at the Esox-1 well in Mississippi Canyon Block No. 726 in 1,405m of water in the Gulf of Mexico. The well encountered 58m of oil-bearing Miocene reservoirs 10 kms east of Tubular Bells production facilities.

Sep 2019: Chevron (operator, 51%) sanctioned a waterflood project in the St. Malo field in the deepwater Wilcox trend. It is expected to result in an ultimate recovery of over 175 mmboe, including 2 new production wells, 3 new injector wells and topsides injection equipment for the FPU.

Aug 2019: Byron Energy (100%) reports a substantial oil and gas column in the O Sand at its SM58 011 well on the Cutthroat prospect in the shallow water Gulf of Mexico. It will begin development immediately using a refurbished platform allowing up to 8,000 bbls of oil per day plus gas and water. Byron has also identified other prospects on the SM58 block.

Aug 2019: BP will sell its Alaska operations and fields to Hilcorp for US$5.6bn including Prudhoe Bay. BPs Alaskan oil production in 2019 is expected to average around 74,000 bbls per day. Hilcorp already holds interests in the Cook Inlet (from 2011) and the North Slope (from 2014).

Aug 2019: The Freeport (Quintana Island, Texas) and Cameron (Louisiana) LNG plants have both begun production. Freeport includes 3 Trains with Trains 2 and 3 scheduled for Q4 2019 and Q1 2020 followed by Train 4, reaching a total capacity of 20 mmtpa. Cameron includes 3 Trains with a capacity of 12 mmtpa. Trains 2 and 3 are expected to start up in Q1 and Q2 2020.

Aug 2019: Shell (100%) has taken the FID for the PowerNap field in the Mississippi Canyon of the GOM in 1,280m of water. It will be a subsea tieback to the Olympus production hub via the Mars pipeline, onstream in late 2021 It is estimated to contain 85 mm bblsoe recoverable.

Jul 2019: The DoI said that the BOEM will offer all available unleased areas in federal waters of the GoM. Lease Sale 253 is the 5th offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Leasing Program. It will include 14,585 blocks from 3 to 231 miles offshore in Western, Central and Eastern areas up to 3,400m water depth.

Jun 2019: LLOG (operator, 33.8%), with Repsol (22.5%), Beacon (18.7%), Navitas (7.5%) and Ridgewood (17.5%), started production from the deep water Buckskin field in the GOM via 2 wells in Keathley Canyon Block 829 and a subsea tieback to the Lucius platform. Phase one production will be 30,000 bbls of oil per day.

Jun 2019: W&T Offshore has struck oil at the Gladden Deep exploration well in Block Mississippi Canyon 800. Gladden Deep will be completed as a sub-sea tie back to the Medusa spar in 4Q 2019.

May 2019: Shell announced that production has started at the Appomattox FPS system. It is the first commercial discovery brought into production from the Norphlet formation.

May 2019: BP has sanctioned development of the Thunder Horse South Expansion Phase 2 project in the deepwater GOM. which is  expected to add 50,000 bbls of oil equivalent per day to the Thunder Horse field at its peak from 2021. Eventually 8 wells will be drilled in 2 subsea units.

Apr 2019: Shell (operator, 52.375%), with Chevron (20%), Equinor (19.125%), and Repsol (8.5%), discovered oil at the Blacktip-1 well in 1,900m of water in the Wilcox reservoir within the Perdido thrust belt in Alaminos Canyon Block 380 of the GOM. Shell’s Great White, Silvertip and Tobago fields are already producing in the region and Shell made the nearby Whale discovery in 2018.

Mar 2019: Gas consumption increased by 10% in 2018, reaching a record high of 848 bcm according to the EIA. It increased across all sectors in 2018, but especially in the electric power sector (35% of total) as capacity increased and extremes of hot and cold weather were felt. Consumption also grew in the commercial, and industrial sectors.

Feb 2019: BHP (44%), with BP (operator, 56%) approved US$696 mm to develop Atlantis Phase 3 in the deepwater GOM. The project is a subsea tieback of 8 new production wells that will access infill resources. First production is expected in 2020 increasing production by around 38,000 bblsoe per day.

2018

Nov 2018: Chevron (operator, 60%), with Equinor (27.5%) and Marubeni (12.5%), has started oil and gas production from its Big Foot field in the Gulf of Mexico, 3 years later than planned. Discovered in 2006, it is 360 kms south of New Orleans in a water depth of 1,584m with recoverable resources of over 200 mm bblsoe. The field uses the world’s deepest water 15-slot drilling and production TLP.  

Oct 2018: BP has started up the Thunder Horse Northwest Expansion project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to boost production at Thunder Horse by 30,000 bbls oil equivalent, taking gross output to over 200,000, with a new subsea manifold and two wells.

Aug 2018: Companies offered bids for 144 blocks in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico as part of region-wide leased sale. A total of 29 companies participated including Hess, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, Walter, W & T, Total, Houston, LLOG, Anadarko, BP, Murphy, Equinor, Byron and Ecopetrol. The Department of Interior had offered 14575 blocks.

May 2018: Shell (operator, 80%) and MOEX (20%) have started production one-year ahead of schedule at the first phase of the Kaikias field, a subsea development in the Gulf of Mexico. Estimated peak production is 40,000 bbls of oil equivalent per day. The company has reduced costs by 30% since the FID in 2017. Kaikias is near to the Mars and Ursa fields.

May 2018: Shell (operator, 100%) announced the Dover-1 deepwater discovery in the Norphlet geologic play in the Gulf of Mexico, It is Shell’s 6th in the Norphlet and encountered more than 244m of net  pay 21 kms from the Appomattox host which will start production in 2019.

Feb 2018: The Department of the Interior will hold the largest oil and gas lease sale (Lease Sale 250) in US history offering 14,776 blocks covering 77.3 mm acres offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida including all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It will be the second offshore sale under the OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022.

Feb 2018: Hess (operator, 25%) started production from the Stampede oil and gas field in the Gulf of Mexico. Discovered in 2005, the development includes 6 subsea production and 4 injection wells tied to a tension leg platform (TLP) with a processing capacity of 80,000 bbls of oil per day. Partners are are Union Oil (Chevron, 25%), Nexen (CNOOC, 25%) and Statoil (25%).

Feb 2018: Shell (operator, 60%) and Chevron (40%) announced the Whale well, in Alaminos Canyon Block 772, adjacent to the Silvertip field, as one of their largest Gulf of Mexico finds in the past decade, encountering 427 m of oil-bearing pay. Appraisal drilling is now underway.

Jan 2018: Chevron (operator, 60%) and Total (40%) announced that a major oil discovery has been made at the Ballymore prospect in the Gulf of Mexico. The well encountered over 200m of net oil pay. A sidetrack well is being drilled to further assess the discovery. It is located approximately 5 kms from the Blind Faith platform in a water depth of 1,993m.

2017

Mar 2017: Repsol and Armstrong Energy have made a large conventional oil discovery on the North Slope of Alaska, Pikka Unit. The Horseshoe-1 and 1A wells confirm the Nanushuk play to hold significant volumes of light oil. Prior to Horseshoe, 13 E and A wells on the North Slope led to many discoveries. First production is scheduled for 2021.

Mar 2017: Shell (operator, 80%) will develop its Kaikias deep water field in the GOM, 210 kms from the Louisiana coast. It will start production in 2019 tied into the nearby Ursa production hub. Mitsui holds 20%. The first phase includes 3 wells producing up to 40,000 bbls of oil equivalent per day.

Jan 2017: BP has started up the Thunder Horse South Expansion project in the deep water Gulf of Mexico and is expecting to boost production by 50,000 bbls of oil equivalent per day. The project adds a new subsea production system.  BP operates 4 large platforms;Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika and holds interests in 4 hubs; Mars, Olympus, Ursa and Great White.

Jan 2017: ConocoPhillips (operator, 78%) and Anadarko (22%) announced the Willow oil field discovery in the Greater Mooses Tooth (GMT) Unit in the northeast of the National Petroleum Reserve. Two discovery wells were drilled in early 2016. Recoverable resource potential is over 300 mm bbls of oil. Appraisal of the discovery will commence in Jan 2017 with production perhaps beginning in 2023.  

2016

Sep 2016: Shell (operator, 100%) started producing from the Stones field in the Gulf of Mexico. The Turritella FPSO and subsea infrastructure is the world’s deepest water oil and gas project in 2,896m of water and will produce around 50,000 bbls of oil equivalent per day by the end of 2017. Two other Shell projects are currently under construction; Coulomb Phase 2 and Appomattox.

Aug 2016: The BOEM held a lease sale offering acreage in 4399 blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Texas. Lease Sale 248 attracted 24 bids from only 3 companies which took part in the bidding round; BHP Billiton, BP, and ExxonMobil and there were no competing bids for the same acreage.

Jul 2016: Shell (operator, 100%) announced a new discovery in the Norphlet play at the Fort Sumter well in Mississippi Canyon Block 566 in a water depth of 2,152m. An appraisal sidetrack well was also drilled and further appraisals and wells in adjacent structures are planned. Other Norphlet discoveries include Appomattox (2010), Vicksburg (2013) and Rydberg (2014).

Jul 2016: Noble Energy (operator, 31.14%) has started production at the Gunflint oil and gas field in deep water Mississippi Canyon Block 948. It is a subsea tie-back to Gulfstar One platform and is expected to reach 20,000 bbls of oil equiv. per day (75% oil). Partners are Ecopetrol (31.5%), Samson (19.13%) and Marathon (18.23%).

Jun 2016: Alaska LNG, being developed by the Alaska Gasline Devt Corp and BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil is targeted to start up in 2025. The facility will be constructed on the east shore of Cook Inlet on the Kenai Peninsula will produce up to 20 mmtpa of LNG from 3 trains. The project includes an 804-mile gas pipeline and a gas treatment plant at a cost of US$45 to US$65 bn.

May 2016: BP has started up a water injection project at its Thunder Horse platform allow the Thunder Horse facility to recover an additional 65 mm bblsoe. The project is the second of 5 big upstream projects BP expects to bring online in 2016. The Thunder Horse platform in over 1,825m of water began production in 2008.

Apr 2016: ExxonMobil started production at its US$4bn Point Thomson project which will produce 10,000 bbls of condensate per day and re-inject up to 2 bcm of gas each year for future recovery. The reservoir holds an estimated 225 bcm of gas with associated condensate. Point Thomson is located 38 kms east of Prudhoe Bay on the Beaufort Sea coast.

Apr 2016: ExxonMobil (operator, 50%) and Statoil (50%) announced that oil production started at the Julia field in the Gulf of Mexico. The first well is online and a second will start soon. Julia is in water depths of over 2,100m. The initial development phase uses subsea tie-backs to the Chevron-operated Jack/St. Malo facility. A third well is being drilled and due online in 2017.

Jan 2016: Anadarko (operator, 31.5%) started production from the Heidelberg field, discovered in 2009  in the Green Canyon area of the GOM. The other 68.5% is shared by Cobalt, Eni, ExxonMobil, Freeport, Marubeni and Statoil. This 80,000 bbls per day truss spar platform is a replica of Lucius which began production in 2015.

2015

Nov 2015: The Coelacanth field platform has been installed at Ewing Bank Block 834 in 365m of water. This  is the third largest fixed platform in the Gulf of Mexico and is designed to produce 30,000  bbls of oil per day and 0.6 bcm of gas per year. Walter is operator with 50.5% partnered with Ridgewood Energy (32.5%), Gordy Oil (16%) and Houston Energy (1%).

Oct 2015: Noble Energy announced that the Big Bend oil field in Mississippi Canyon 698 in the deepwater GOM has commenced production. The single-well field is expected to reach nearly 20,000 bbls of oil per day. First production from the Dantzler field in Mississippi Canyon 782 is expected in November. Both are subsea tiebacks to the Thunder Hawk patform.

Oct 2015: Anadarko (operator, 30%) struck oil at its third appraisal well to test the 2009 giant Shenandoah discovery on Walker Ridge 52 in the GOM. Other partners are ConocoPhillips (30%), Cobalt (20%), Marathon (10%), and Venari (10%).

Oct 2015: The Department of the Interior will cancel the 2 Arctic lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas scheduled for 2012-2017 following Shell’s failure at the Burger prospect.

Sep 2015: Shell encountered oil and gas shows at its Burger J well, 240kms from Barrow in 46m of water. This is insufficient to warrant further exploration. Shell holds 100% in 275 blocks in the Chukchi Sea but will not return to drilling in Alaskan waters for the foreseeable future.

Aug 2015: Chevron does not expect production from its Big Foot TLP in the Gulf of Mexico until 2018 after 9 of 16 tendons lost buoyancy in June 2015. Production was planned to start in 2015. Big Foot lies in water depths of 1,600 m and is estimated to contain 200mm bblsoe.

Jul 2015: Shell will construct its eighth and largest deep water FPU, Appomattox, in the GOM. It will initially produce from the Appomattox and Vicksburg fields and comprise a semisub platform and a 6 centre subsea system with 15 producing wells and 5 water injection wells, owned by Shell (79%) and Nexen (21%). Start-up is expected in 2019.

Apr 2015: LLOG began production from the Delta House FPS at Mississippi Canyon 254 in the Gulf of Mexico in 1371m of water. The development plan calls for 8 wells by the end of 2015. It is the second FPS that LLOG has brought online in the last 4 years. Who Dat began production in 2011.

Mar 2015: Exxon Mobil (operator, 46.7%) began production at Hadrian South in the GOM from 2 subsea wells tied back to Lucius. Output will reach 3 bcm a year and 3,000 bbls per day. Water depth is 2,332m. Lucius came onstream in January. The discovery, Hadrian-2, was drilled in 2008, and the appraisal , Hadrian-4 sidetrack, in 2009. Petrobras holds 23.3% and Eni 30%.

Feb 2015: Shell plans to return to Alaskan drilling, spending around US$1bn from 2015, subject to getting permits and legal clearance. The company suspended its offshore operations in 2012 after one of its drilling units (the Kulluk) ran aground and a drillship (the Noble Discoverer) had to be towed due to failures with its engine and other equipment.

Jan 2015: Inpex announced first production from the Lucius field in Keathley Canyon blocks 874, 875, 918 and 919 in 2,160m of water. Oil and gas  will be processed at a floating facility and transported onshore to Louisiana by pipeline.The field is operated by Anadarko.

Jan 2015: Chevron announced an oil discovery at the Anchor prospect in the Gulf of Mexico in  Green Canyon Block 807. The well is located 225 kms off the coast of Louisiana in 1,580m of water. Appraisal drilling will begin in 2015. Chevron is operator (55%) with Cobalt (20%), Samson (12.5%) and Venari (12.5%).

2014

Dec 2014: Stone announced that its Cardona deep water project initial production testing has started from 2 wells and is expected to reach a combined production volume of 12,000 bbls of oil per day flowing to the Stone operated (100%) Pompano platform. The Cardona subsea facility allows for the tie-in of two additional wells in 2015.

Dec 2014: Chevron announced that oil and gas production has begun at the Jack/St. Malo project in 2100m of water in the Walker Ridge area. Production from the first development stage is expected to ramp up to 94,000 bbls per day. The fields were developed with subsea completions tied to a  semi-submersible FPU.

Nov 2014: Hess (operator, 57.14%) and Chevron (42.86%) announced production has commenced from the Tubular Bells field in 1,310m of water in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to deliver 50,000 bbls per day from three producing wells by year end. Tubular Bells utilizes the first classic spar built in the USA.

Oct 2014: Hess (operator) will develop the Stampede field in water depths of 1097m in the Gulf of Mexico. Discovered in 2005, the field is in Green Canyon Blocks 468, 511 and 512. It will have 10 subsea wells (including 6 producers delivering up to to 80,000 bbls per day after 2018), tied back to a TLP. Hess, Union Oil, Statoil and Nexen all own 25%.

Oct 2014: Repsol has made an oil discovery in the Leon well in the Gulf of Mexico, Keathley Canyon 642 block, at a water depth of 1865m. It is close to its 2009 Buckskin discovery. Repsol has 60% and is operator with Ecopetrol holding 40%.

Oct 2014: Chevron announced an oil discovery at the Guadalupe prospect in Keathley Canyon Block 10, Gulf of Mexico. Well No. 1, drilled with a drillship in 1217m of water, encountered oil pay in the Lower Tertiary Wilcox Sands. Chevron is operator with 42.5% along with BP (42.5%) and Venari Resources (15%).

Sep 2014: Shell (100%) has reported that production is underway from the Cardamom field in 820m of water in the ulf of Mexico. Oil is piped from subsea wells through the Auger platform. Since Auger’s first production in 1994, the facility has received a number of subsea upgrades for new discoveries with Cardamom the seventh.

Aug 2014: Noble Energy has announced an oil discovery at the Katmai  exploration well in Green Canyon 40 block in the Gulf of Mexico in 640m of water. Noble is operator with 50% along with Ridgewood Energy Corporation (also 50%).

Jul 2014: Shell announced its third  discovery in the Norphlet play in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The Rydberg well is 120 kms offshore in Mississippi Canyon Block 525 in 2,280m of water. Reserves  of approximately 100 mm bbls are expected, which, together with the Appomattox and Vicksburg discoveries, brings Norphlet potential to over 700 mm bbls.

Jun 2014: Eni (operator, 100%) has achieved its goal of 25,000 bbls of oil per day from the Nikaitchuq field and is working to 30,000 bbls per day. The field is located on and offshore (3m water depth) the North Slope of Alaska and holds reserves estimated at 200 mm bbls. Production began in 2011 from horizontal wells and facilities on land and on an artificial island in the Beaufort Sea.

Apr 2014: The Bakken field of North Dakota and Montana has  reached a milestone of 1 bn bbls of light oil produced. Two-thirds of this oil has been extracted since 2010. The Bakken field is the largest newly exploited oil field in the world in more than 40 years and Continental Resources is the largest producer, driller and leaseholder.

Mar 2014: Lease sales for federal waters in the central Gulf of Mexico achieved US$872 mm in high bids on 329 tracts covering 1,707,358 acres of offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Feb 2014: Shell (operator, 71.5%) and BP (28.5%) have begun production from Mars B through the Olympus TLP in 945m of water. Mars B includes subsea wells at West Boreas and South Deimos, pipelines and a shallow water platform at West Delta 143. Development drilling will achieve a peak of 100,000 boe per day in 2016. Mars produced over 60,000 boe per day in 2013.

Jan 2014: US Oil Sands has awarded KBR a contract to bring both the extraction facilities and mine development of its PR Springs oil sands project in Utah to commercial production. The startup of the 2000 bbl per day first phase of development has been delayed until 2015 due to lack of financing.

2013

Dec 2013: BP, with ConocoPhillips, has made an oil discovery at its Gila well in the GOM Keathley Canyon Block 93, in 1493m of water. BP has previously announced two other Paleogene discoveries in the area; Kaskida in 2006 and Tiber in 2009.

Sep 2013: Noble Energy has announced a discovery at the Troubadour prospect in the Gulf of Mexico in 2217m of water within the Rio Grande area, Mississippi Canyon Block 699. The discovery at Troubadour follows on from the nearby Big Bend discovery in 2012. Initial project sanction is targeted by the end of this year and first production is planned by 2016 using subsea tiebacks.

Aug 2013: Gas production from the Marcellus shale is rising rapidly with output from Pennsylvania and West Virginia up 50% compared with 2012. Projections are for a year-end total of 90 bcm. Furthermore fewer rigs are drilling more wells. The shale extends across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, Ohio and Maryland, but most of the production is in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Ohio production is at an early stage but is expected to grow from 2014.

Jun 2013: Shell has announced a discovery at Vicksburg A in the GOM De Soto Canyon Block 393 in a water depth of 2,269m. The discovery adds to potentially recoverable resources that have already been discovered at the nearby Appomattox and Vicksburg B. Shell is operator with 75% along with Nexen, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC, (25%).

Jun 2013: Oil production from North Dakota could exceed the state's forecast of 850,000 bbls per day by the end of 2013. Output in April was 33% higher than a year earlier. The number of wells completed fell in April by 28 to 119, still above a threshold of 90 new wells per month to ensure production growth.

May 2013: Shell has announced that the Stones field in the Gulf of Mexico will host the deepest production facility in the world with two subsea wells tied back to an FPSO followed later by six additional wells. The Stones field is located in 2,919m of water and was discovered in 2005. Tankers will transport oil from the FPSO and gas will be transported by pipeline. Shell holds 100% and will operate the development.

May 2013: Operator Exxon Mobil with 50% and Statoil (50%) have sanctioned the Julia field development in the Gulf of Mexico. Discovered in 2007, Julia is estimated to have nearly 6bn bbls of resource in place. Julia will be a subsea tieback to the Jack and St. Malo floating production platform operated by Chevron and sanctioned in 2010. Drilling operations are planned to start in 2014 with production in 2016.

Apr 2013: Anadarko has announced that its Phobos-1 well in the deep water Gulf of Mexico, Sigsbee Escarpment area has discovered oil in Lower Tertiary-aged reservoirs. Phobos lies in 2,590m of water close to Anadarko’s Lucius discovery, which is under development. Anadarko is the operator with 30% along with Plains (50%) ExxonMobil (20%).

Feb 2013: The Central GOM Lease Sale 227, which includes 7,299 blocks in water depths of more than 3000m, will offer 38.6 mm acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama for exploration and development. The sale will be held on March 20 and includes all un-leased areas in the Central GOM Planning Area. The Administration created an outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017, and this is the second sale and the first of 5 central GOM lease sales.

Jan 2013: Demand for petroleum products fell 2% in 2012 to 18.6 mm bbls per day in 2012 while oil output jumped 13.8% to a 15-year high of 6.4 mm bbls per day; the largest annual increase in output since the beginning of commercial production in 1859. Imports were down 6.9% to 10.5 mm bbls per day, the lowest level since 1997. Gasoline, the most widely used product saw a 0.4% drop for the full year to 8.7 mm bbls per day. Oil stocks ended 2012 at 359.8 mm bbls, a 31-year high, and an 8.7% rise from a year earlier.

2012

Nov 2012: The western Gulf of Mexico lease sale covering 20 mm acres yielded US$113.8 mm in high bids for 652,520 acres. ConocoPhilips was the highest bidder with US$51.8 mm for 62 tracts. The sale is the first in the new Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012 to 2017.

Oct 2012: Oil production in North Dakota surpassed 700,000 bbls per day in August, almost as much as Qatar. Most was from the Bakken and Three Forks shale reservoirs, where production rose to around 635,000 bbls per day. Horizontal drilling with fracturing has led to the rise with output doubling since February 2011. North Dakota is now the second biggest oil producer in the USA after Texas. Oil production is likely to decline a little in the winter as remote wells become inaccessible and costs rise.

Sep 2012: Petrobras has started production at its deep water Chinook field in the Gulf of Mexico. The Chinook-4 well was drilled and completed in Lower Tertiary reservoirs. Production from Chinook is processed by the BW Pioneer which is the first FPSO to operate in US waters.

Aug 2012: Shell was granted permission to carry out preparatory activities for its exploratory drilling program in the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska. It will not be allowed to begin drilling until the Arctic Challenger vessel is approved on location. Shell can begin work, using the Noble Discoverer drillship, on creating a mud-line cellar to allow casing to be installed where no hydrocarbons are expected.

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