The Offshore Petroleum Industry and its Effects on the U.S. Gulf

Welcome to the website of the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology's research program on the history, evolution, and social effects of the offshore petroleum industry in the Gulf of Mexico. We encourage you to explore our website to learn more about us, our work, and the U.S. offshore petroleum industry in the Gulf of Mexico and its effects.

This research program began in the mid-1990s when BARA faculty were asked to contribute to a study examining the historical, social, and economic changes in selected coastal communities between 1930 and the mid-1990s and the role of the offshore oil and gas industry in those changes. That study, funded by the U.S. Minerals Management Service (now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; BOEM) also aimed to enhance the understanding of methodologies for studying offshore petroleum impacts through the use and integration of analytical approaches from history, anthropology, and economics.

The BARA research team was responsible for bringing anthropological insights and methodologies to the study. That study was completed and published in 2001, but we have continued to pursue those two objectives through an ongoing research program that has involved collaborations with the BOEMRE and universities in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas; partnerships with individuals and organizations from over a dozen coastal communities; and more than 40 undergraduate and graduate students.

Please click on a region to learn more. To view a list of all regions, please click here.