HOUSTON, March 19 (UPI) -- Oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to increase in 2013, the first such increase in four years, an economic analysis says.
Energy market analysis from financial firm Raymond James said that offshore oil production beyond 2020 is expected to increase at a faster rate than onshore production.
"After three straight years of oil production declines in the wake of the Macondo spill, 2013 is set to be the Gulf of Mexico's first year of growth since 2009," the report was quoted by the online Oil and Gas Journal as saying. "While production is likely to flatten out in 2014 and 2015, there is a very meaningful amount of volumes on deck for startup in the second half of the decade."
Onshore oil production is expanding on the back of shale oil production from North Dakota and Texas. Monday, the U.S. Interior Department held a lease in Louisiana for nearly 39 million acres for oil and gas development in the central Gulf of Mexico.
The lease builds on a five-year plan through 2017 for Outer Continental Shelf oil and natural gas development.
The U.S. government placed a moratorium on offshore drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The Macondo well beneath the Deepwater Horizon rig failed, causing an explosion that sank the rig, killed 11 works and led to the worst offshore oil spill in the United States.