PGS: Atlantic OCS Hydrocarbon Exploratio

The February, 2013, meeting of the Potomac Geophysical Society will be held February 21st at the Fort Myer Officers’ Club in Arlington, VA ( in the Glassed-in room in the Fife and Drum (main dining room).

Atlantic OCS Hydrocarbon Exploration – Past, Present and Future by Harold E. Syms

Abstract–There currently is a flurry of hydrocarbon exploration and development activities virtually all around the rim of the Atlantic with the conspicuous absence of the U.S. OCS.  The activities are occurring off Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in Canada, off the west coast of Africa from Mauritania in the north to Namibia in the south, and off South and Central America from the Surinam and Guiana to Brazil to the Falkland Islands.

This presentation will discuss the magnitude and results of the single round of leasing and exploration of the U.S. OCS that occurred from the 1960’s through the 1980’s and  will present our current (2011) assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources, based on both the data gathered during that round exploration, and world-wide analogs.

Currently BOEM is producing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate potential significant environmental effects of multiple geological and geophysical (G&G) activities on the Atlantic OCS.  The proposed action is to permit G&G activities in support of oil and gas exploration and development, renewable energy, and marine minerals in the Mid- and South Atlantic Planning Areas.   To date there have been over 20 applications for permits to gather 2-D seismic, magnetic, and gravity data for hydrocarbon exploration on the Atlantic OCS.

Although with conclusion of the PEIS, G&G data gathering will likely be permitted in the mid- and south-Atlantic OCS planning areas, these areas were not included in the 2012-2017 Five Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program, and therefore any federal leasing will occur sometime beyond 2017.

Bio–Harold E. Syms is the Chief of the Resource Evaluation Division of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in Herndon, VA.  The BOEM is part of the U.S. Department of Interior and manages the exploration and development of the nation’s offshore oil and gas and renewable energy resources.  He has held various positions in Los Angeles and Camarillo California, as well as the Washington D.C. area.  From 1988 through 2003 he served as the Chief of Reserves, Resources and Economic Analysis for the Minerals Management Service’s (MMS) Pacific OCS Region.  His responsibilities included resource economic evaluations for reserves and resource assessments in Federal offshore California, Oregon, and Washington.  He joined MMS’s predecessor, the Conservation Division of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1977.  His experience includes reservoir analyses, reserves determinations, well log analyses, and economic evaluations of fields and prospects in the Pacific OCS Region.  He has also served as an expert witness on the petroleum geology and reserves of the Pacific OCS Region.  Harold is a graduate of California State University, Northridge with a B.S. Degree in Geology.  Professional affiliations include membership in the American Association of Petroleum Geology, the Coast Geological Society, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Meeting Room and Dining Arrangements: We now meet in the glassed-in room at the back of the main dining room—The Fife and Drum. We order individually from the Club menu, which has a nice variety of dinner offerings. We pay a single bill (I pay it with my Officers Club credit card), so we collect at least $25 from each diner with the agreement, that if one orders more than $20 in food and drink, he adds the amount over $20 to his contribution. The $5 overcharge goes to the Room Fee, Tax, Gratuity, and the Speaker’s Dinner. We collect on the Honor System. We did this throughout the last year, and it worked well. This room change and use of the menu have greatly reduced the loss that we have incurred in the past for having fewer than 20 people dining, and the change has preserved the viability of using the Officers Club for our meetings.

Reception at 6:00. Order Dinner at 7:00. Talk at 8:30 PM. Please note that the meal orders will be taken at 7:00. Allow 15 minutes for security entering Ft. Myer as all civilian vehicles are searched. To ensure access to and from Fort Myer use the Hatfield Gate, open 24 hours a day ( Reservations are not necessary, however, we need a head count, so, if you wish to attend dinner ($25), please inform Bob Fraser at 540-888-3001 or via E-mail at If you wish, please feel free to attend the talk without dinner. Non-members and guests are welcome. Visit the PGS web site at for new meeting announcements, etc. Please send changes of address or email to


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