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

Omowumi O. Iledare, Allan G. Pulsipher and Robert H. Baumann

Year: 1995
Volume: Volume16
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol16-No2-3
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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.

Oil Spills, Workplace Safety and Firm Size: Evidence from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico OCS

Omowumi O. Iledare, Allan G. Pulsipher, David E. Dismukes, and Dmitry Mesyanzhinov

Year: 1997
Volume: Volume18
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol18-No4-3
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Accidents on offshore oil and gas platforms have declined dramatically during the past decade, yet concern about safety and environmental damages from offshore operations seems to have intensified. In the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, some of this concern is premised on an offshore restructuring caused by major oil and gas companies investing more heavily in exploration and production (E&P) in foreign countries, leaving more domestic E&P to smaller 'independents' assumed to be less careful and capable than majors. Both industry, and regulatory specialists believe this trend will increase the risk of accidents and oil spills. However, our analysis found no evidence that more independents would threaten workers' safety or the marine environment. In fact, on average independents had a slightly better record than the majors. We also found that the, Minerals Management Service's platform inspection program had a beneficial and statistically significant effect, decreasing both offshore accidents and oil' spills.

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