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This is an excerpt from NYT news article. (http://nyti.ms/1mCPmPy)

But the drop in production is not happening fast enough, especially with output from deep waters off the Gulf of Mexico and Canada continuing to build as new projects come online.

I have trouble comprehending the bold part of the sentence. Would you tell me which of the following has the closest meaning to the original?

  1. with output from deep waters off the Gulf of Mexico and (output from) Canada continuing to build as new projects come online.
  2. with output from deep waters off the Gulf of Mexico and (deep waters off) Canada continuing to build as new projects come online.
  3. with output from deep waters off the Gulf of Mexico and (with) Canada continuing to build as new projects come online.
  • There are 2 reasons for the slow reduction of oil production: a) output from deepwater drilling. b) because Canada is continuing to create new installations while recent projects start to be productive. So the closest interpretation is 3). – Graffito Feb 15 '16 at 7:42
  • @Graffito, you could be correct, but I think it's the output, from both the Gulf of Mexico and Canada, that's continuing to build. You interpreted as new construction, which is possible but, if your interpretation is correct, the sentence is abysmally worded. I still tend to believe my interpretation is correct. But if you are sure about Canada and new construction, please comment again. Thanks! – M. E. Feb 15 '16 at 9:59
  • How many "deep waters" are there in Canada? – Hot Licks Apr 15 '16 at 12:19
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Technically, I'd need to know a little more about who is producing what to be more certain. But with the information you've given, it certainly strongly appears that the correct interpretation is a combination of your 1 and 2:

A. "…with output from deep waters off the Gulf of Mexico and (output from deep waters off the coast of) Canada continuing to build as new projects come online."

The way the sentence is set up, the comma after 'enough,' followed by 'especially,' means the subsequent clause will relate to and modify 'the drop in production.' Using 'and' in the modifying clause almost certainly indicates that the description of the situation regarding Canada is identical to that of the Gulf of Mexico. Were the Canadian production output from, say, dry land, the structure would not have been parallel and thus 'and' would not have been used. That sentence would have had to have been constructed as

B. "…with output from Canada and from deep waters off the Gulf of Mexico continuing to build as new projects come online." (commas could set off 'and from deep waters off the Gulf of Mexico if desired)

or

C. "…with output from deep waters off the Gulf of Mexico and from Canada continuing to build as new projects come online."

Since the sentence is not constructed as B or C, it is logical to conclude that both the Canadian and Gulf of Mexico scenarios are identical, and thus the interpretation I enclosed in A would be correct.

EDIT: As @Graffito pointed it, it's possible that the sentence implies that Canada is building new installations, but were that the case, an accurate construction would insert a different preposition into the latter half of the sentence, like so:

D. "…with output from deep waters off the Gulf of Mexico, and from Canada continuing to build as new projects come online."

Without the "from," we are left to believe that "with" applies to both the Gulf of Mexico and to Canada, and thus it is the output of both areas that is continuing to build.

  • According to the linked article, 91% of Canada's oil output comes from 3 main provinces, two of which are landlocked. Canada is famous for producing oil by extracting it from oil sands. Considering this, your interpretation is less likely and I believe No. 1 interpretation is more likely than No. 2 and No 3. – user140086 Feb 15 '16 at 12:00
  • +1 @MZ I agree that Option A is what the sentence says. Whether that is what it's intended to mean is, of course, an entirely different question requiring some research - and beyond the scope of this forum! – TrevorD Apr 15 '16 at 15:46

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