Tight Oil Tight Oil Trend to Go Global: The Next Best Superstar?

| Editor: Dominik Stephan

Tight oil (also known as shale oil) could revolutionise the global oil industry just as shale gas did: According to a new geological study by global analytics firm IHS, the world has large potentially technical recoverable resources of tight oil, possibly several times the size of those of North America...

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(Picture: PROCESS)

IHS believes that untapping these reserves could equal and exceed the current estimates for North America tight oil output. The figures indicate a widespread geological potential of tight oil globally. In particular, the 23 highest-potential regions alone could account for nearly 175 billion barrels of oil —out of almost 300 billion for all 148 play areas analyzed in the study.

While the company has not yet assessed the proportion of tight oil that could actually be commercially recovered, the potential is significant compared to the commercially recoverable resources of tight oil (43 billion barrels) estimated in North America.

Tight Oil Uses the Same Fracking Technology as Shale Gas

The production of tight oil in the US has seen significant increases in the wake of America's shale gas boom as is uses the same hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques. “This study makes clear that the potential for global tight oil is there and that it is very, very large,” said Jan Roelofsen, IHS Research Director and Advisor for unconventionals.

“The final measure of technical or commercially recoverable resources cannot be truly known until the actual well data is available. You simply cannot quantify it for sure until you begin to drill. But this study’s unique, data-based assessment shows that the potential of just the highest-ranking plays is likely double the size of North America’s resources, and that is a conservative estimate.”