Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Stephen Farber


Proposed regulations would restrict surface disposal of untreated produced waters by oil and gas producers in coastal south Louisiana. The regulations would impose costs on oil and gas activity. This dissertation develops an integrated model of exploration and production activities which utilizes both economic and geological concepts, in which the cost of compliance with the proposed regulations is treated as a reduction in the real net price of oil. The goal is to predict the effects of the proposed regulations on exploration and production activity in the study region. The main findings are: (i) the proposed regulations would reinforce the trend of falling levels of exploration activity, (ii) the rate of oil production from existing fields would not be greatly affected, (iii) the minimum economic field size would increase somewhat, and (iv) the productive life of fields would be shortened by less than two years. Generally, the effects of the regulations are estimated to be rather small. However, data problems require these results to be interpreted carefully and used cautiously.