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U.S. Gulf Output to Top 2009 Levels by 2019, Analyst Says

Production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico will exceed 2009’s peak and top 2 million barrels a day of oil equivalent in 2019.

Gulf output will increase in 2013 after declining this year, Lauren Payne, an analyst for Wood Mackenzie Ltd., said at a meeting in Houston. She said drilling days increased significantly this year from 2011 after declining for two years in the wake of the 2010 BP Plc oil spill.

Gulf oil production fell to 1.32 million barrels a day in 2011 from a peak of 1.56 million in 2009, U.S. Energy Department data show. Through July of this year, production was 1.27 million barrels a day. Wood Mackenzie’s forecast includes both oil and gas.

Most of the production growth in the coming years will be heavy sour crude, Payne said. Heavy refers to density, sour to high sulfur content.

Companies will spend about $70 billion on Gulf production through 2030, more than in all other major deep-water areas combined, Julie Wilson, a senior analyst for exploration at Wood Mackenzie, said at the meeting. The Gulf is attractive to producers because of favorable access to markets and acreage and well-developed infrastructure, she said.

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