Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion
Page added on July 27, 2012
Whether or not you ascribe to theories of peak oil, there is no doubt that there are some massive untapped oil fields around the world.
Some aren’t reaching their potential in terms of oil extraction for political reasons.
Others present difficult technological challenges that haven’t quite been figured out yet.
These oil fields have the potential to seriously increase the world’s supply of oil if these political and technological issues can eventually be overcome, and the promise of the oil they contain is causing the industry to rise to the challenge.
Location: IraqEstimated barrels of crude: 45-100 billion
The deal: Western oil companies are flocking back to Iraq after the devastation to the country’s infrastructure caused by the US-led 2003 invasion. The major bottleneck continues to be a lack of refining infrastructure to process all of the oil in the supergiant fields.
Location: BrazilEstimated barrels of crude: 123 billion
The deal: Brazil’s offshore oil basins are a major focus in the industry right now given the volume of oil estimated to be there. However, the location of the oil – tens of thousands of feet below the surface and trapped beneath layers of salt, does not make it the easiest to extract.
Location: VenezuelaEstimated barrels of crude: 513 billion
The deal: Venezuela is notorious for its investment climate, with many western oil companies pulling out in recent years. However, Asian oil companies are lining up to get in on the game in Venezuela.