Oil and gas exploration and development is extending into deeper water in the Gulf of Mexico. The current record is 3,051 m (10,011 ft) in Chevron’s Toledo prospect in the Alaminos Canyon Block 951 in the Gulf of Mexico. This report was prepared to support the Minerals Management Service (MMS) regulatory decisions for oil and gas leasing. Given the recent development of subsea technologies, it is not surprising that very little information is readily available on the potential environmental effects. This report represents the compilation and synthesis of existing published and unpublished literature on the environmental effects of subsea operations on the deepwater environment. Technical experts from the oil and gas industry, regulatory agencies, and academic institutions were also consulted to identify potential environmental issues.
In managing Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) activity, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) has two core responsibilities, safe offshore operations and environmental protection. Our safety goal is to ensure incident free minerals exploration and development on Federal offshore leases. Our environmental responsibilities are to ensure that all activities on the OCS are conducted with appropriate environmental protection and impact mitigation. The MMS New Orleans Regional Office conducts all leasing and resource management functions on the OCS for the Gulf of Mexico Region (GOMR) and the Atlantic Region OCS areas, a total of 415 million acres in seven planning areas (see map in Section 1.2).
This is the ninth publication that the Minerals Management Service has released chronicling deepwater exploration, development, and production activities in the Gulf of Mexico. For this report, deep water is considered to be water depths of 1,000 feet (305 meters) or greater. Leasing activity in the deepwater Gulf remains strong. Central Sale 206, held on March 19, 2008, attracted approximately $3.7 billion in high bids—the most since Federal offshore leasing began in 1954.
Minerals Management Service BP Deepwater Horizon Accident Reports 2005-2008.