The world in 2002 might be spinning under
the influence of terrorism and reeling from other uncertainties,
but that hasn't stopped the planet's need for energy — nor extinguished
the fire to explore and discover hydrocarbons.
In a word, the world's exploration possibilities
"Generally the activity in acreage awards around
the world is quite healthy," said Ken White, senior editor of the
"IHS International Oil Letter."
"Awards exceed relinquishments today," he said, "and
the market is especially strong in Africa,
South America, the Middle
East, the Far East and
He said there is a strong general interest in prospectivity
that is driven by restrictions on production.
"Companies need to impress shareholders," White noted,
"so interest is high in major areas of opportunity like Brazil,
where large chunks of acreage can make an impact."
"There is opportunity all over that continent today
and there is a large amount of acreage available in countries where
governments are trying to encourage investment," he said. "The opportunities
are not just confined to the typical producing countries like Nigeria,
Egypt and Libya."
Unlike Africa, activity is somewhat sluggish in Indonesia.
Plus, areas of unrest due to terrorist threats are extremely volatile
International success rates are very healthy, however,
which also encourages companies to continue looking for acreage,
he said — and developing infrastructure is driving activity around
"Huge transmission lines in South America, for example,
have prompted companies to look for prospective acreage close to
these transportation corridors," White said.
A key transmission line for future exploration activity
is the 4,000-kilometer pipeline from the Tarim Basin in western
China to the industrial centers in the east.
"The joint venture framework agreement has been signed
by Shell, ExxonMobil, Gazprom and PetroChina," he said. "When that
line is in place in five years it will stimulate intense activity
along that corridor."
The following summary regarding available acreage
is an excerpt from the International Acreage Inventory, a quarterly
supplement to the International Oil Letter published by the IHS
Algeria — A Third Licensing Round includes 10 packages of
19 blocks in various basins. Also offered is a Berkine Basin
Project involving six fields that includes exploration through
marketing elements, with technical bids due in October.
Angola — Three ultra-deep water areas that have been delimited
for future rounds are awaiting blocks definitions and bid terms.
Angola/Namibia — A joint study of six undrilled blocks ranging
in size from 4,500 to 10,000 square kilometers is available
through WesternGeco, with direct negotiations welcomed and no
bid round planned.
Congo — Areas are available in the 750,000-square-kilometer
Central Congo Basin and the 70,000-square-kilometer Tanganyika
Graben in the African Rift System.
Djibouti — Three blocks onshore and offshore covering a total
of 7,900 square kilometers comprise the first-ever offering
for petroleum exploration. A 2-D non-proprietary, speculative
seismic shoot is planned by WesternGeco.
Egypt — Thirty blocks in five basins are being offered, with
application deadline of October 1. A data room and data packages
are available at the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. in Nasr
City and on the EGPC Web site.
Eritrea — Despite ongoing conflict with Ethiopia, 20 blocks
covering 11,800 square kilometers in the Red Sea Basin remain
open for licensing.