RE: Differing views of oil reserves

From: altamira (
Date: Tue Aug 08 2000 - 08:41:58 MDT

Stolen from another list (I believe this originally came from _Scientific

                          Awash in Oil
> There's plenty of cheap oil, says the
> U.S. Geological Survey
> The debate over this summer's skyrocketing gasoline prices-an issue
> that has drawn the ire of both U.S. presidential candidates, Congress
> and the Federal Trade Commission-obscures what may be a larger truth:
> there's gobs of oil out there.
> In June, after a five-year study, the U.S. Geological Survey raised
> its previous estimate of the world's crude oil reserves by 20 percent,
> to a total of 649 billion barrels. The USGS team believes the largest
> reserves of undiscovered oil lie in existing fields in the Middle
> East, the northeast Greenland Shelf, the western Siberian and Caspian
> areas, and the Niger and Congo delta areas of Africa. Significant new
> reserves were found in northeast Greenland and offshore Suriname, both
> of which have no history of production. "What we did is look into the
> future and predict how much will be discovered in the next 30 years
> based on the geology of how it gets trapped," explains [2]Suzanne D.
> Weedman, program coordinator of the [3]USGS World Petroleum Assessment
> 2000. "We also believe that the [oil] reserve numbers are going to
> increase."
> Besides relying on geological surveys, the USGS also based its numbers
> on changes in drilling technology that are making it easier to find
> new supplies and to squeeze more oil out of existing fields. Petroleum
> companies are flushing out oil with pressurized water and carbon
> dioxide and using improved robot technology to construct offshore
> drilling rigs in up to 3,500 feet of water. They are also conducting
> three-dimensional seismic imaging of underground and underwater
> fields.
> The idea of an expanding "reserve growth" of undiscovered oil isn't
> shared by everyone. Colin J. Campbell, an oil industry analyst based
> in Ireland, believes the USGS estimates are overly optimistic. "It's
> only the low end of this scale that has any practical meaning; the
> other end of the scale is a very bad estimate," argues Campbell, who
> warned of an impending crunch, based on projections of current
> production and reserves, in an article in Scientific American [[4]"The
> End of Cheap Oil," March 1998]. Weedman says the USGS report is
> documented with 32,000 pages of data. "We've looked at all the
> information," she states, "and tried to predict on the basis of
> science and not on past [oil] production."
> --Eric Niiler
> _________________________________________________________________
> ERIC NIILER, a journalist based in San Diego, described the vanishing
> biodiversity on Guadalupe Island in the August issue.


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