Abstract: Oil & Gas Exploration in the Arctic

In overcoming the technical challenges of oil production in the Arctic, are we making the most of a strategic resource or heading for an environmental and political minefield? The vast Arctic region is probably the last remaining unexplored source of hydrocarbons on the planet. Ultimate resources are estimated at 114 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and 2000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This great prize, in a world of diminishing resources, has stimulated both governmental and industry interest. Harnessing the considerable resources of the ‘Final Frontier’ is going to be fraught with many technical, political and environmental challenges that will engage many minds, both scientific and political over the next half century.

In overcoming the technical challenges of oil production in the Arctic, are we making the most of a strategic resource or heading for an environmental and political minefield?

The vast Arctic region is probably the last remaining unexplored source of hydrocarbons on the planet.

In the past three decades of oil exploration in the Arctic, more than 200 billion barrels of oil have been discovered. Ultimate resources are estimated at 114 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and 2000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. If these estimates are correct, these hydrocarbons would account for more than a fifth of the world’s undiscovered reserves. This great prize, in a world of diminishing resources, has stimulated both governmental and industry interest in areas such as the US and Canadian Beaufort Sea, East and West Greenland and the Kara Sea.

Balanced against this are the considerable technical challenges of exploring and producing hydrocarbons in areas where sea ice is present for more than half the year as well as the underlying threat of damage to a pristine Arctic environment.

Harnessing the considerable resources of the ‘Final Frontier’ is going to be fraught with many technical, political and environmental challenges that will engage many minds, both scientific and political over the next half century.

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Distinguished Lecturer

Alastair

Alastair Fraser

EGI Chair in Petroleum Geoscience

Imperial College, London

Abstracts

  • 839 Offshore Angola has to date delivered recoverable reserves in excess of 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent. This has been encountered in two distinct play systems: the Upper Cretaceous Pinda carbonates sourced by Lower Creatceous lacustrine mudstones and Tertiary deepwater slope turbidite sands sourced by underlying Upper Cretaceous marine mudstones. An extension of the Girassol play into Block 18 to the south will be used to describe how high quality 3D seismic data coupled with a detailed analysis of rock properties led to an unprecedented 6 successes out of 6 wells in the block, including the giant Plutonio discovery. Industry is turning once more to the carbonate play potential - this time in deepwater. It would seem that the Angola offshore success story is set to continue for some time to come. Oil Exploration Offshore Angola: Past, Present & Future http://www.aapg.org/Details-Page/ArticleID/839/Oil-Exploration-Offshore-Angola-Past-Present-Future
    Oil Exploration Offshore Angola: Past, Present & Future

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