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The Gulf of Mexico has survived an onslaught of hurricanes—Irene in 2011, Isaac and Sandy in 2012—and a six-month deepwater moratorium imposed by the Obama administration during 2010-2011, and is now returning to pre-Macondo activity levels. By all the leading indicators—leasing, permitting and discoveries—the Gulf of Mexico is experiencing a new wave of resurgence, Fig. 1. The activity is led by majors, including Shell, BP and Chevron, and large independents, such as McMoRan, Noble and Anadarko. A new slate of IOCs is also increasing their stakes, and some have become operators, such as Petrobras, Statoil, Total and Eni, who see the Gulf of Mexico as a safe harbor for their oil and gas investments. Several relatively new independents have emerged, such as Cobalt International and Venari Resources. The lagging indicator of crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is also heading in a positive direction, Fig. 2.
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