There’s an important discussion happening throughout the country right now about the U.S.’s place in the global energy markets. Recent reports have demonstrated that our country the world’s largest energy producer, thanks to spectacular advances in discovering new opportunities onshore and offshore, as well as technological innovations tied to actual exploration.

As we listen to these developments or read about them, we can forget that industry is also hard at work decommissioning previously used wells and structures. Check out this graphic below, indicating the Gulf of Mexico’s offshore industry’s annual amount of wells/structures developed compared to retirements. Since 2007, more wells and structures have been plugged and removed than actually drilled and installed.

Graph of wells and structures in the Gulf of Mexico, 1947-2014

Many thanks to the team at Opportune, who pulled this data from GAO reports when they analyzed the effects of BOEM’s recent NTL regarding new financial assurance requirements for the OCS.