Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Oil on the Edge: Our Growing Dependence on Deepwater Petroleum

Date and Time
Friday, October 25, 2019 - 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
The Generator (Gross Hall 100C)
Caroline Gorham
Oil on the Edge: Our Growing Dependence on Deepwater Petroleum


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How and why does the petroleum industry extract oil and gas from deepwater (beyond 1,300-foot depths)? And how long will it last?  During 2007-2012, 50 percent of the 170 billion barrels of global conventional oil (and gas equivalent) discovered by industry was in deepwater. Global output from these depths is projected to double by 2030, to 14 million barrels/day. This presentation will explain the history of petroleum extraction beyond the edge of the continental shelf and discuss its implications for the future of energy.

Registration is required for this event, as seating is limited.

Duke University’s Energy Transition Speaker Series brings leading experts to campus to engage with students, faculty and the broader community on the pursuit of affordable, accessible, reliable and clean energy. The first round of speakers will focus on the oil and gas industry as it works through the technological, economic, and environmental dimensions of operating today and in the future. Sponsored by the Duke University Energy Initiative in partnership with the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Parking & Transportation

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Public parking is available in the Bryan Center Parking Deck, located on Science Drive between Duke Chapel and the Bryan Center.


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Tyler Priest is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Iowa. He is a widely published scholar of energy and environmental history, with expertise in the history of offshore oil.  He is the author of The Offshore Imperative: Shell Oil’s Search for Petroleum in the Postwar United States (Texas A&M, 2007) and co-author (with Joel Hewett) of the forthcoming book, Deepwater Horizons: The Epic Struggles Over Offshore Oil in the United States. He also co-edited a June 2012 special issue of the Journal of American History, “Oil in American History.” In 2010, he served as a senior policy analyst on the President’s National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. Check out his website on the history of deepwater oil in the Gulf of Mexico.