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BOEM estimates decline in reserves from 2016 levels on US Outer Continental Shelf

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released its 2021 National Assessment, an estimate of the undiscovered, technically and economically recoverable oil and natural gas resources outside of known oil and gas fields on the US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

BOEM estimated mean Undiscovered Technically Recoverable Resources (UTRR) of 68.79 billion barrels of oil and 229.03 trillion cubic feet of gas in the OCS. As a comparison, the 2016 assessment estimated a mean UTRR of 90.55 billion barrels of oil and a mean UTRR of 327.58 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Of BOEM’s four regions, the 2021 estimates of UTRR for the Gulf of Mexico showed the most change from 2016, due in part to the refinement of field size distributions and the estimated number of prospects for some mature geologic plays, particularly on the shallow water shelf.

The findings are derived from analyzing each geologic play across the OCS and assigning a probability for the existence of undiscovered oil and gas resources for individual plays. Play results are then aggregated up to regional results and eventually, a total OCS estimate. The 2021 assessment represents a comprehensive appraisal through the rigorous analysis of the best scientific data and information available as of 1 January 2019 and builds upon previous OCS resource assessments.

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