Rig workers will have to wrap up warm, as offshore drilling in America moves north, stated a new report by industry experts GBI Research.
The new report shows that as global onshore oil and gas reserves have become more and more depleted, more adventurous drilling has been attempted in order to meet the world’s rising energy needs. Offshore drilling expenditure rises in accordance with regional remoteness and harsh environments, but the possibility of finding untouched fossil fuel reserves is enough to make any location an economically attractive prospect – even the Arctic.
Offshore drilling in the Arctic region has already been carried out off the shores of Norway and Northwest Russia, yet the US are yet to start significant exploratory work in the Alaskan coast. The increasing demand and subsequent prices of hydrocarbons have generated interest in the Arctic region in the search for new reserves.
Offshore Exploration and Production (E&P) companies which have already spent considerable capital on exploration activity in the region are also keen to commence seismic surveys in 2012 and 2013, and also plan to carry out exploratory drilling programs in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Greenland. Scotland-based Cairn Energy carried out exploratory drilling at multiple offshore areas during 2010-2011, attempting to find fresh hydrocarbon reserves in the Arctic region. Although no success was achieved in terms of discovering fresh hydrocarbon reserves, they are expected to continue further E&P activity in the region as they strongly predict major hydrocarbon potential there. Other companies that are optimistic of future hydrocarbon potential in the region are Statoil of Norway, oil superpower Royal Dutch Shell, and Canadian E&P major Husky Energy.
A relatively less developed offshore sub-region of the Arctic is the Canadian offshore region, where companies including BP plc, Imperial Oil, and ExxonMobil are expected to conduct exploratory drilling operations in the near future.
There has not yet been an established, formal set-up of procedures for the leasing out of offshore blocks in the Arctic, and regulatory framework and inter-institutional processes differ from country to country. However, a unified set-up could determine the success of exploration in the Arctic region by oil and gas companies eager for fresh discoveries.
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