Study: Tight Oil Potential Outside N. America is Huge

Study: Tight Oil Potential Outside N. America is Huge


LONDON/HOUSTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Commercially recoverable reserves of tight oil in the rest of the world could be double or more those of North America and the geology of the 23 best opportunities is better in some cases, according to a new study.

But the study by analysis firm IHS warned development in newer regions will likely to be slower than in the United States as many countries could run into constraints including government policy and regulation, lack of access to specialised kit and skilled labor, and access to land.

Tight or unconventional oil requires the same hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques as shale gas.

"The global potential is really quite large and the challenges don't just involve technology but legal frameworks and above-ground issues too," Pete Stark, a co-author of the study, told Reuters.

The 23 highest-ranking tight oil areas identified by the study include well-documented areas such as the Vaca Muerta formation in Argentina, the Silurian "hot" shales in North Africa and the Bazhenov Shale in west Siberia.

However, the list also includes lesser-known geological plays in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Costs for unconventional wells in tight deposits can be three or four times higher than for conventional wells.

Like shale gas, tight oil it has become a boom U.S. industry, transforming the economy through cheaper energy and reduced reliance on imports, leading other countries to look at developing similar reserves.

The study found that more than half the global technically recoverable reserves outside North America were concentrated in just 23 of 148 potential development areas it analysed. It put the total at 300 billion barrels, with 175 billion in the top 23 areas - known as "plays" in the oil and gas industry.


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Isabelle Pelletier | Sep. 26, 2013
Answer to John Hoopingarner: May be because water is more precious than oil! I am in the oil industry and I have worked on shale gas plays in the USA, so I know what I am talking about! There are studies showing the negative effects of shale gas plays development in some areas of the USA. Yes it is nice to get more and more money but at what cost for your civilisation? Read about the Sumerians, Greeks, even now the Chinese who are obliged to rent soil abroad (Canada, Africa, Australia, Central Europe) as they have already damaged so much their water supplies! What I am amazed about is why there hasnt been more pressure to develop a clean hydraulic fracturing. The problem is not so much the fracturing, the problem is all the additives going into the water reserves. And electricity cost increases more in very fast developping countries because of the unbalanced situation between demand and offer and, for instance, France would prefer to sell abroad than to serve it to French consumers. Also because consumers lost the focus on how precious is electricity. We have to stop thinking short term money and begin to be really smart!

John Hoopingarner | Sep. 18, 2013
Private ownership of mineral rights in the US is a principal reason why drilling and producing shale oil and gas has exploded. Landowners who never expected to see a dollar of royalty are now very, very happy. No other countries in the world allow private ownership of mineral rights so there is no pressure or lobbying from landowners. On the contrary having no chance of a windfall, these land owners are easily convinced that fracking is dangerous and will contaminate their water supplies. At a time when Russia supplies the majority of the natural gas to Europe at above market prices, it is amazing to me that these countries have banned the use of drilling practices necessary for the development of un-conventional oil and gas reservoirs. Their economies are already at significant risk because of high electricity costs. Why place ones country at further risk by refusing to develop alternate sources of oil and gas?


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