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Which Large Oil Fields Are Waiting to Be Developed?

For a variety of reasons there still exist many untapped oil fields in the world. Those reasons may be political, technological, geological, or economical; but as time goes on they are being resolved to the extent that some huge fields are now becoming available for exploration and production.

An oil drilling rig in the Junin 10 field in the Orinoco Oil Belt, in Anzoategui, Venezuela on January 24, 2012.
Lissy De Abreu | AFP | Getty Images
An oil drilling rig in the Junin 10 field in the Orinoco Oil Belt, in Anzoategui, Venezuela on January 24, 2012.

The Jubilee Field in Ghana is estimated to contain 1.8 billion barrels of crude. Tullow Oil discovered the field in 2007 and is now working to develop its potential. In 2011 it produced 66,000 barrels a day. (More: Who Lost Africa?)

The Chicontepec Basin in Mexico is estimated to contain 10 billion barrels of crude. The problem is that most of the oil in this formation is extra-heavy crude, which at current prices is too expensive to extract.

The Kashagan Field in Kazakhstan is estimated to contain 11 billion barrels of crude. Extracting this crude is difficult due to the fact that the northern parts of the Caspian Sea, where the reservoir is situated, freeze over in the winters, and the ice makes production very difficult.

in the southwest of Iraq are estimated to contain 45-100 billion barrels of crude oil. Iraqi oil has been unavailable for extraction due to conflict which has plagued the country for decades. Now that a relative peace has settled oil companies are moving to the region eager to secure a share of its riches. A lack of infrastructure in the country still hinders its full potential, along with the fact that Baghdad has banned oil giants Chevron and ExxonMobil for their dealings with the KRG in the north. (More: Gulf Tensions and Oil Prices)

The Santos and Campos Basins in Brazil are estimated to contain 123 billion barrels of crude. They are a hot topic in the world of oil due to their size, and companies such as Chevron are keen to work on them. However their location, miles below the surface of the ocean and trapped beneath layers of salt, makes extracting the oil very difficult. (More: Brazil Bets on Wind)

The Orinoco Belt in Venezuela is estimated to contain 513 billion barrels of oil. However western companies have been pulling out of the region despite the fortune that could be made there due to the high risk and unstable investment climate that Venezuela poses. Since the South American nation pulled withdrew from the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) the legal uncertainty surrounding business there has caused many investors to avoid the area. Now, however, Asian companies are entering the Venezuelan oil market, probably confident that Hugo Chavez’s anti-US stance will make him more trustworthy.

By James Burgess of Oilprice.com

—This story originally appeared on Oilprice.com.

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