Hey, fossil fuel industry — good news! The Gulf of Mexico’s font of oil has yet to be fully tapped. (Just kidding, they’re definitely aware of this already). Whereas production was once forecast to decline, it turns out there’s still plenty to pump from its Lower Tertiary Basin — a.k.a. “final frontier of oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico” — and we have a way of getting it: deepwater hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. fracking. Heard of it?
The high-stakes, unconventional drilling method is already at play in the Gulf, and the possibilities are only growing. Writing at DeSmogBlog, Steve Horn calls out the extreme underplayed news that of the more than 400,000 acres off the Texas coast sold by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for gas and oil development, “most” bidders were focused on the Lower Tertiary. Horn calculates that about 54 percent of the total acreage is located there — meaning the federal government’s more or less opened the doors for the Gulf to become frack central. Already, one industry exec is predicting that fracking activity there will increase by more then 10 percent this year.