Offshore drilling actually began off the coast of California in 1896. Modest returns ended the enterprise by 1902. Advances in drilling technologies inevitably caught up with the opportunity offshore, and in 1947 Kerr-McGee Oil Industries drilled the first productive well beyond the sight of land off the coast of Louisiana at the depth of 18 feet. Possibly the biggest milestone for offshore exploration and production came in 1953 when the Submerged Lands Act was passed giving states, instead of the federal government, the right to lease up to three miles off their coastline, with Florida and Texas winning the right to increase their limit to nine miles. Prior to this ruling offshore leasing had ground to a halt. Courtesy of The Sloane Gallery – www.sloanegallery.com – 281-496-2212
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