History of the Gulf of Mexico Offshore Oil and Gas Industry during the Deepwater Era


This study, to be completed in 2017, is the product of a cooperative agreement between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston.  It builds on the previous BOEM/MMS funded study, History of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry in Southern Louisiana (MMS 2004-042-047), released in 2008.  Although this first study produced substantial documents, it generated more data than could be analyzed in the study period. It produced audio recordings and transcripts of more than 450 oral history interviews by the time of its conclusion. It was focused on southern Louisiana and the period from the 1930s through the 1960s. This “Deepwater History” study broadens that look, both spatially and temporarily.  It both builds on our historical understanding of the earlier period and provides the first comprehensive historical investigation of important new trends over the last thirty years.  It will be of considerable use to those who are responsible for planning and managing the development of offshore oil and gas reserves and understanding the consequences of such development on coastal institutions and the economy.  Research teams from the University of Houston and the Bureau of Applied Anthropology (BARA) from the University of Arizona conducted another 180 oral histories, which will eventually be deposited at the University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections, under “Oral Histories – Houston History Project, 1996-2008, Series 7: Energy Development.”  Technical papers written as part of this study include:

1) “The Secret of the Sea: Offshore Oil and Gas Revenue Collection, Valuation, and Royalty Relief in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, 1973-2010” (Joel Hewett)
2) “The Shape of These Monsters: From Fixed to Floating Offshore Oil and Gas Production in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, 1979-1994” (Joel Hewett)
3) “Mars: A Deepwater Monument in the Gulf of Mexico” (Tyler Priest)











Top – Shell Oil’s Mars Tension-Leg Platform, Mississippi Canyon, Gulf of Mexico
Bottom – Rig workers and mooring Cable, unidentified platform

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