Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Investment interest in the shale basins in the United States suggests capital is moving away from deepwater reserves, consultant group IHS found.
IHS Markit said in a report published Tuesday that about 20 percent of the global deepwater assets on the market are in European waters, where opportunities represent about $3.6 billion. In the United States, merger and acquisition in the Gulf of Mexico "has virtually stalled," according to Cindy Giglio, a principal energy merger and acquisition analyst at IHS, said in an emailed statement.
The Gulf of Mexico accounts for about 17 percent of total U.S. crude oil production. The latest forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration put total production in the Gulf of Mexico in September at 1.7 million barrels per day, an increase of 70,000 barrels per day from August.
The House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral subcommittee heard recent testimony on the Accessing Strategic Resources Offshore, or ASTRO, Act. The measure would limit the presidential authority to put parts of the Outer Continental Shelf off limits to oil and gas drillers and give the Interior Department the authority to move ahead with new lease sales "as soon as practicable," but no later than a year after the announcement of intent.
Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., said the offshore oil and gas industry is vital for U.S. economic success, generating "billions of dollars" in revenue and creating "millions" of direct and indirect jobs in the country.
Giglio said the move out of the Gulf of Mexico, however, reflects an industry eager to capitalize on the shale oil boom. The four-week moving average for crude oil production in the Lower 48 states was 8.8 million barrels per day, a 9.4 percent increase from the same period last year.
In Alaska, meanwhile, slow recovery for crude oil prices and state fiscal policies mean development of new oil and gas projects is slow. Alaska's four-week production average is 499,000 barrels per day, a 5.8 percent increase from last year.
Giglio said some of the slowdown in the Gulf of Mexico is because of tighter rules in place since the BP oil spill in 2010
"Nevertheless, the deepwater Gulf of Mexico accounts for $3.2 billion, or 17 percent of the global deepwater assets on the market," her report read.