This project: is devoted to documenting and narrating the story of Shell’s development of the Mars field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (3,000 feet of water), as well as associated fields the greater Mars-Ursa basin, historically the largest single source of crude oil in the Gulf. The narratives, photos, videos, and other resources gathered here offer insight into the decisions and dramas that made the Mars-Ursa megaproject a major component of domestic U.S. petroleum supply. This project also provides a forum for “Martians” and other participants — from rig-hands and laborers, to engineers and geoscientists, to managers and executives — to contribute recollections, images, or artifacts, which will help to preserve the living history and memory of Shell’s Deepwater Mission to Mars. Hundreds of thousands of people have worked directly in the Gulf of Mexico offshore oil industry over time, tens of thousands for Shell, and thousands on Mars and Ursa. This website is an attempt to preserve and tell their stories.
The Author: 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, Oceans of Oil: The Epic Struggles Over Offshore Drilling in the United States. He also co-edited a June 2012 special issue of the Journal of American History, “Oil in American History.”
Acknowledgments: Research for this project was sponsored by a cooperative agreement between the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Alumni from Shell and other companies generously assisted the research, but neither Shell nor any other company provided monetary assistance. The contents of this website do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Shell. Special thanks to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa for professional development support, Ethan DeGrosse of the University of Iowa Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio for web design, Amy Kopale for ArcGIS maps, and Woody Woodward for photos and videos.