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James Burgess

James Burgess

James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…

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Shale Play in Western Siberia is 80 Times Bigger than the Bakken

Shale Play in Western Siberia is 80 Times Bigger than the Bakken

The Bakken shale is a huge expanse of oil-bearing rock that lies underneath Northern Dakota and Montana. Oil production in the Bakken has grown from just 60,000 barrels per day (BPD) five years ago, to 500,000 bpd now. It is predicted that the formation holds more than 24 billion barrels of oil, and that given enough rigs it could produce more than a million bpd by 2020 and continue that level of production for half a century.

The Bakken shale play is one of the biggest in the US, but is absolutely dwarfed by a shale play in Russia. The Bazhenov is located in Western Siberia, and according to Oswals Clint, Sanford Bernstein’s lead international oil analyst, it “covers 2.3 million square kilometers or 570 million acres, which is the size of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico combined;” an area 80 times bigger than the Bakken.

The region which is covered by the Bazhenov has many cracks and fractures which could make its oil flow more readily, and therefore production much cheaper. A couple of test wells have been drilled in the region which operated at 400 bpd; the same as an average Bakken well.

News of the Bazhenov may be new to many of us, but geologists have actually been studying it for at least 20 years, however it is only in the last few years that the technology and expertise necessary to drill the oil has been developed.

ExxonMobil and Statoil have agreed to start joint venture operations in the region with the Russian, state-owned Rosneft in an attempt to secure access to the Bazhenov. Exxon made a recent statement which confirmed the agreement “to jointly develop tight oil production technologies in Western Siberia.”

Oswald Clint warned that oil companies will face challenges of drilling in the region as during the summer the weather in Siberia warms and softens the ground enough to prevent drilling. Although if 300 rigs can be quickly deployed he believes that by 2020 the Bazhenov play could be producing one million bpd.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com




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Leave a comment
  • Philip Andrews on June 06 2012 said:
    Exactly or even roughly how much oil are we talking about in the Bazhenov? And how would that affect/improve Russia's position as an energy producer?
  • Al Diaz on June 06 2012 said:
    It appears that oil will remain the primary worldwide source of energy for the remainder of this century. Let's stop wasting money on developing, subsidizing, and encouraging use of impractical and inefficient alternative sources of energy such as ethanol. Get ethanol out of our gasoline.
  • Mel Tisdale on June 07 2012 said:
    This is only good news if we ignore the impact the resulting increased CO2 production will have on the environment. There are troubled times ahead when the public sees through the hype and realises just how serious the situation is. Old Mother Nature doesn't give a fig about politics; her laws are immutable. Increase the atmospheric CO2 content and the temperature increases and the oceans become more acidic, period. Whilst most attention is centred on Climate Change, it is worth bearing in mind that the oceans produce 50% of our oxygen and we are doing our best to kill off the organisms that produce it. I don’t think that “Oops!” will cut it somehow.
  • Heber Rizzo on June 07 2012 said:
    Considering that for almost all of the last 600 million years of Earth history both CO2 levels and temperature have been higher (far higher in fact) that present ones, and there has been no "tipping point" and that life has thrived trough all that time:

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/PageMill_Images/image277.gif

    ... these are good news, indeed!
  • Butch Verrando on June 08 2012 said:
    Mel contrary to what EPA thinks CO2 is not a pollutant, and as long as the Earth is a living biosphere it will experience climate change. By stating that “her laws are immutable” you imply that you know what those laws are, and that those laws indicate the oceans will somehow become damaged.

    Nature has been running this game for a very long time, and I would suggest that what man does will not have the slightest effect on the Earth’s environment. CO2 has been much higher proportion of the atmosphere in the past and the planet did not melt! As a matter of fact plants grow better. You know of course that plants pretty much stop growing at around 280 PPM.

    We need to use these oil resources and stop jousting with wind mills like Don Quixote, you greenies are promoting a Marxist agenda and it needs to stop.
  • Ron Wagner on June 12 2012 said:
    Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty and dangerous coal and nuclear plants. It is producing the electricity for electric cars. It will directly fuel pickup trucks, vans, buses, long haul trucks, dump trucks, locomotives, aircraft, ships etc. It will keep us out of more useless wars, where we shed our blood and money. Here are over 200 recent links for you: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NbaKYme3bqOw0b6KMxXSjOLHLNeflalPy9gIAiTYFMQ/edit
  • Mark_BC on April 03 2013 said:
    True, CO2 was much higher in the Earth's past. But the sun has also been getting much brighter as CO2 dropped, which tends to counteract.

    Butch, humanity currently appropriates 1/4 of every single piece of vegetation that grows on planet Earth. To say that we will have the slightest effect on the planet is totally absurd.

    There is nowhere near enough natural gas to replace oil for any significant length of time.

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