Genave King Rogers Assistant Professor of Energy Law Buford Pollett recently moderated a Congressional briefing on offshore energy organized by the Advances in Earth Science coalition. Pollett, whose professional background includes work in both onshore and offshore energy environments, joined with other experts from government and academia to educate Congressional staff members on technological advancements as well as the various challenges surrounding offshore energy production.
Offshore oil and gas development began around the middle of the 20th century when Brown & Root built the first out-of-sight-from-land oil rig for Kerr-McGee and its partners. Since that time, technology has evolved extensively to accommodate energy production at water depths approaching 10,000 feet.
Though offshore energy developments tend to cost more, they do offer some advantages over onshore energy developments such as fewer interactions with third parties that often complicate onshore operations. Pollett notes that according the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 17 percent of U.S. crude oil production comes from offshore locations located almost entirely in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, the first U.S.-based offshore wind farm, located off the coast of Rhode Island’s Block Island, is expected to begin operations in late 2016.
Even as some offshore oil and gas projects to be temporarily sidelined due to lower oil prices, the technology and research that accompany offshore energy continues to show strong domestic growth potential as it can be useful in different applications. “There is a great deal of technology developed in Oklahoma that meets or exceeds anything you’ll see around the world,” said Pollett. “It’s a niche area that provides a great opportunity for students.”
The panel later recorded a follow-up webinar broadcast worldwide by the American Geosciences Institute. The webinar, presenter slides and Q&A session are available here.
Pollett is a Texas licensed attorney and geoscientist, a licensed attorney in Louisiana and Georgia and a proctor in maritime law. His energy experience includes work with Eni (the Italian National Oil Company), Wilson Offshore & Marine, McDermott, Technip, Entergy, Amoco, Texaco, Nabors and a Shell-Exxon joint venture in Germany (BEB Erdgas und Erdöl).