December 12, 2013
production forecast as slow due to interventionismWednesday, September 18, 2013
Vaca Muerta has one of the highest tight oil reserves in globe
LONDON/HOUSTON — The Vaca Muerta formation in Neuquén and Mendoza provinces has been ranked among the 23 highest tight oil reserve areas in the world, according to to a report released yesterday by global information company IHS.
Commercially recoverable reserves of tight oil outside North America could be double or more those of the continent and the geology of the 23 best opportunities is better in some cases, according to the new study.
But the IHS report warns that development in newer regions is 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 specialized kit and skilled labour, 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, said.
The 23 highest-ranking tight oil areas identified by the study include well-documented areas such as the Vaca Muerta formation, 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 has become a boom US 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 analyzed. 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.
Commercially recoverable resources in North America have been estimated at 43 billion barrels.
IHS is a global information company with experts in the areas of energy, economics, geopolitical risk, sustainability and supply chain management. The company creates reports of oil and gas production in more than 115 countries.
Herald with Reuters