Middle East oil not overshadowed by ‘shale fever’
The Middle East remains ripe for hydrocarbons exploration in spite of “shale fever” driving rigs in places from Poland to China, according to the analysis company IHS.
Eight legacy contracts across the region, including Abu Dhabi’s prized 75-year onshore concession that ended in January, could be reawarded in the coming decade and make room for new foreign partners to enter, according to the energy and economics consultancy.
Although Saudi Arabia is exploring for shale and Oman is starting to develop tight gas, substantial work on unconventional resources such as shale remain five to seven years away, said Bob Fryklund, IHS’s chief upstream strategist and a former Libya country manager for ConocoPhillips.
“The world has shale fever at the moment and it seems to have occluded the potential around the world of more traditional places,” said Mr Fryklund. “The Middle East is not done.”
The advent of fracking in North America has paved the way for the United States to export gas to Asia, fuel an industrial revival and wean itself off emissions-laden coal. But that revolution is unlikely to be replicated elsewhere, said the consultancy. A total of 1,000 shale gas wells have been drilled outside North America – the equivalent of one month’s activity in Canada and the US. Shale development often involves pockmarking the land with rigs to free up paths for gas or oil.
“It’s clear that there isn’t another North America out there,” said Mr. Fryklund.
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Updated: April 28, 2014 04:00 AM