6 Of The Biggest Untapped Oil Fields In The World

Iran oil

Photo: AP Images

Whether or not you subscribe to theories of peak oil, there is no doubt that there are some massive untapped oil fields around the world.Some aren’t reaching their potential in terms of oil extraction for political reasons.

Others present difficult technological challenges that haven’t quite been figured out yet.

These oil fields have the potential to seriously increase the world’s supply of oil if these political and technological issues can eventually be overcome, and the promise of the oil they contain is causing the industry to rise to the challenge.

Jubilee Field

Location: Ghana

Estimated barrels of crude: 1.8 billion

The deal: Tullow Oil is currently developing the field, which produced an average of 66,000 barrels per day in 2011.

Source: Tradequip, Tullow Oil

Chicontepec Basin

Location: Mexico

Estimated barrels of crude: 10 billion

The deal: Most of the oil discovered in the Chicontepec Formation is extra-heavy crude, which is currently too expensive to produce for anyone to extract it.

Source: Tradequip, OilVoice

Kashagan Field

Location: Kazakhstan

Estimated barrels of crude: 11 billion

The deal: The Kashagan Field is located in the northern Caspian Sea, where it freezes over in the winter. The ice makes extraction of oil very difficult.

Source: Tradequip, Yenikeyeff (2008)

Supergiant fields in Iraq's southwest desert

Location: Iraq

Estimated barrels of crude: 45-100 billion

The deal: Western oil companies are flocking back to Iraq after the devastation to the country's infrastructure caused by the US-led 2003 invasion. The major bottleneck continues to be a lack of refining infrastructure to process all of the oil in the supergiant fields.

Source: Tradequip, International Business Times

Santos and Campos Basins

Location: Brazil

Estimated barrels of crude: 123 billion

The deal: Brazil's offshore oil basins are a major focus in the industry right now given the volume of oil estimated to be there. However, the location of the oil -- tens of thousands of feet below the surface and trapped beneath layers of salt, does not make it the easiest to extract.

Source: Tradequip, WSJ

Orinoco Belt

Location: Venezuela

Estimated barrels of crude: 513 billion

The deal: Venezuela is notorious for its investment climate, with many western oil companies pulling out in recent years. However, Asian oil companies are lining up to get in on the game in Venezuela.

Source: Tradequip, RigZone

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