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Effects of an Increasing Role for Independents on Petroleum Resource Development in the Gulf of Mexico OCS Region

Abstract:
Major oil and gas companies are shifting their exploration and production (E&P) investment from the United States to foreign countries. As they do so, smaller companies, "independents," are expected to play a more prominent role in domestic E&P. Within both industry and government circles the apprehension is widespread that such a shift from the majors to the independents will cause domestic oil and gas resources to be developed less aggressively and less efficiently. This paper attempts to discern and quantify differences infirm behavior and success among firms of different sizes (majors, large and small independents) operating on the Gulf of Mexico OCS region. Contrary to conventional thinking, descriptive analysis of data on drilling effort and outcomes on the Gulf of Mexico indicates independents have been both more aggressive and successful than the majors in exploration while the majors have been only moderately more successful than independents in development drilling.

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Energy Specializations: Petroleum – Exploration and Production; Petroleum – Policy and Regulation

JEL Codes:
D24 - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General

Keywords: Oil industry, US Gulf of Mexico, performance, firm size, oil exploration

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol16-No2-3


Published in Volume16, Number 2 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.