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2011 National Oil and Gas Resource Assessment and the Identification of High Potential Areas of the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf

Piper, Kenneth *1; Mayerson, Drew 2; Ojukwu, Chima 1
(1) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Camarillo, CA.
(2) Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Camarillo, CA.

The Federal offshore of California has produced over 1.2 billion barrels of oil and 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas since the first platforms were placed in southern California in 1967. As of 2009, estimated remaining recoverable reserves for the same fields are about 323 million barrels and 670 billion cubic feet of gas. In addition, contingent resources of about 1.2 billion barrels of oil and 770 billion cubic feet of natural gas exist on terminated or expired leases, mostly in the Santa Maria basin. Assessments of technically and economically recoverable oil and gas are conducted about every five years. The results of the latest resource assessment were published in September 2011 and estimate that the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) contains over 10 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil and over 16 trillion cubic feet of gas. Economically recoverable estimates are from 25% to 65% less depending on commodity prices.

Exploration and development of areas outside the existing offshore leases in southern California have been restricted due to various Congressional moratoriums, presidential exclusions, and an anti-offshore oil sentiment from states and local politicians and citizens dating back to before the last Federal lease sale along the Pacific coast in 1984. Should those restrictions be lifted, we expect that the most prospective area will be offshore Santa Maria basin, because of the existing discovered, but unleased fields. Additional areas of interest include the Santa Barbara-Ventura basin, which has the greatest development, and the frontier Oceanside basin offshore San Diego.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90142 © 2012 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, April 22-25, 2012, Long Beach, California