Offshore Oil Deposit Holds Out on the Human Race

This week’s post, There is Plenty of Oil, generated a heated discussion about the finer points of peak oil and oil reserves.  In line with oil reserves, I noted that offshore deposits are unlikely to sustain global oil consumption or even delay the oil peak predicted originally by Hubbert.  Less than one year ago, the chariman for Global Petroleum was speaking optimistically about a Woodside-Dana-Global Petroleum joint venture, that would begin developing Kenya’s offshore oil fields.

Dr. Armstrong said that the Kenya acreage has the potential to become a significant oil region:

  • Woodside currently regards Kenya as having “multiple large structural prospects” (November 2005 Woodside presentation);
  • Woodside’s mapping and seismic surveys have identified more than 30 prospects and leads, a number of which are each capable of holding several hundred million to a billion barrels of recoverable oil;
  • The first prospect to be drilled is likely to be Pomboo in L-5 and the second possibly Sokwe in L-7;
  • Both prospects have reservoir objectives in rocks of Cretaceous and Tertiary age which elsewhere in the world contain a large proportion of the world’s known oil and gas reserves;

Hooray! We are saved! Honey, gas up my Hummer!

But today…Disappointment sets in over the ambitious exploration project.

101 million dollars later…

This precedes the decision by Woodside and its partners to call-off the second oil exploration venture in Kenya last month.

The first oil exploration costing 7 billion shillings that began in October last year failed to find oil or gas.

But what about all those promising prospects and the several billion barrels of oil?  Apparently it was a waste of time for Chikyu. 

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.


3 Replies to “Offshore Oil Deposit Holds Out on the Human Race”

  1. I understand “significant” to mean “so much that it’s not a drop in the ocean compared to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Iran.” which is good news as far as it goes.

    But deposits capable of removing the peak to a distant future would have to be *far greater* than Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Iran. So I’m never impressed by news of “significant” oil finds, even if they do deliver on their promises. Which as you say, they haven’t, again.

  2. Since when did anecdote become a scientific form of argument? Deep Sea News would be much better off sticking to science.

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