Where there is Still Oil in the Eastern Hemisphere

Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico have a vast amount of oil. Alaska has a few drops left as well. But on the left half of the world, oil has been known, explored and produced for years in some places and yet recently found in other places.

Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico have a vast amount of oil. Alaska has a few drops left as well. But on the left half of the world, oil has been known, explored and produced for years in some places and yet recently found in other places.

Iraq

It’s no secret that the Middle East has oil. It’s also no secret that one reason (that the US Government won’t directly openly admit) why US troops are in Iraq is their oil.  Iraq is home to super giant (over 5 billion barrel) oil fields. Iraq has nine such fields, scattered throughout the country. Although, Iraq only produces most of their oil from three of these such fields.

Between the oil fields in the southwest desert, to Kirkuk in Iraqi Kurdistan in the Northeast, Iraq has an estimated 50 – 150 billion barrels. Iraq has depended so much on oil that 94% of its energy needs are met by oil. (Just think how much is not inhabitable because of the desert. In the desert there is lots of wind – wind turbines. In the desert there is also lots of sun. Lots of it. The average summer high is 110 degrees F with a disputed high of 145 degrees F. Ahem…solar anyone?)

While this may go without saying, the greatest disadvantage to this oil is the political climate of Iraq. While Iraqi Kurdistan has a great affinity for Americans and other western nations, the greater population as a whole makes entrance difficult. There are some companies like the Calgary based Vast Exploration (TSX-V:VST) which are exploring in Iraq.

Iraq National Oil Company (INOC) oversees the whole oil industry, and original concession holders were the Iraq Petroleum Company (Mosul Oil Company and Basrah Oil Company), Royal Dutch/Shell (NYSE:RDS.A, NYSE:RDS.B), Anglo-Persian Oil Company (one of the antecedents of BP), Exxon (pre-merger) (NYSE:XOM), Mobil (pre-merger) (NYSE:XOM), Atlantic Richfield (private company, now a subsidiary of BP America, Inc.), Gulf Oil Corporation, Standard Oil of Indiana (later Amoco, now part of BP), and Participations and Explorations Corp., under auspices of the Near East Development Company. Previous US oil companies in Iraq were Haliburton (NYSE:HAL), Howe-Baker Engineering Inc., Mobil Oil (NYSE:XOM), and Pullman-Kellogg. Pending United Nations approval, U.S. companies Coastal Corp., Phoenix, Chevron Corp. and Mobil Corp. may be granted the right to bid for concessions.

International companies that have contracts in Iraq are Russian Sidanco and France's Total S.A. (NYSE:TOT). Currently Shell, BP (NYSE:BP), Chevron (NYSE:CVX), and Coastal are among the companies interested in buying Iraqi crude.

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world and the largest landlocked nation. It has a population of about 16.5 million people. The current nation is relatively new, as its finalized independence from the Soviet Union was on December 25, 1991. Moreover, the country is a new player in the resource game. It only created national oil company Kazmunaigaz in 2002 to give the country control over oil and gas production. While the states of Florida, Texas, New York and California all have greater populations, none have the Kashagan and the Kurmangazy Fields.

The Kashagan field is situated in the northern part of the Caspian Sea (actually the largest lake in the world) close to the Kazakhstan city of Atyrau. Discovered in 2000, the estimated 9 – 16 billion barrels make it one of the largest recent discoveries. The Kurmangazy filed is also in the Caspian Sea and has an estimated 14 billion barrels of oil. Through 2009, Kazakhstan has produced 1.54 million barrels per day.

The greatest issue with the oil in Kazakhstan is the sulphurous nature of the oil and the high pressure natural gas overlaying the deposit. Yet, where there is oil, there is a company willing to take political, economic and technological risk. Shell, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Total and ExxonMobil are such players and believe there to be commercial production from Kashagan in 2013.

Ghana

Africa is still mysterious. The resource potential is beyond tremendous. The wonders of its cultures are amazing as are the rain forests, deserts, flora and fauna. While nations such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo continue to hold promise for exploration, the political nature is too dangerous and unstable for most companies. However it would be ignorant to group the whole of an entire continent based on stereotypical perceptions and real projections of a few nations on the whole.

South Africa has 80% of the world’s platinum. Burkina Faso has gold. Ghana has gold. Ghana also has oil. The offshore Jubilee Field has an estimated 2 billion barrels. Granted the field is still being explored its potential is may be much bigger. Discovered by the British company Tullow (LSE:TLW) in 2007 with commercial production begun in December of 2010, the Jubilee Field is located about 50 miles offshore between the Deepwater Tano and West Cape Three Points oil blocks in Ghana.

Deepwater Tano is operated by Tullow with 49.95%, Kosmos with 18%, Anadarko (NYSE:APC) with 18%, Sabre Oil & Gas with 4.05%, and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) with 10%. West Cape Three Points is held by Tullow with 22.9%, Kosmos with 30.88%, Anadarko with 30.88%, Sabre Oil & Gas with 1.85%, Ghana National Petroleum (GNPC) with 10%, and EO Group with 3.5%.

In August, Kosmos tried to sell its stake in Jubilee, which could have been worth up to $4 billion, to ExxonMobil. The deal fell through because Ghana didn't have proper rules on the books to monitor the sale. Ghanaian officials were worried that failed deal would tarnish relationships with the U.S. and other foreign investors. The government is now trying to renegotiate regulations to be friendlier to outside drillers, while still keeping the benefits, such as tax revenues from production.

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