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Saudi Desert’s Gas Mirage?

Chazon and Neil King Jr., Wall Street Journal
Saudi Desert’s Gas Mirage?
Boast of Vast Reserves Faces Growing Skepticism as Firms Go Dry in the Empty Quarter

Saudi Arabia’s boast that its southern desert region contains vast reserves of natural gas is facing growing skepticism, amid a string of exploration setbacks by international oil companies operating there.

The kingdom had hoped that gas in the Rub al Khali, a vast desert that translates into English as the Empty Quarter, would be a key source of fuel for its booming economy. If the region turns out to be as empty as its name implies, Saudi Arabia runs the risk of a gas-supply crunch within the next decade at today’s rate of demand.

If that happens, and the kingdom has less gas than expected, it will be forced to divert more of the oil it produces for its own use, leaving less to fuel the rest of the world’s cars, airliners and factories.
(25 March 2008)
Behind a paywall.

Greenland Thaw May Replace Dog Sleds With Oil Drills

Tasneem Brogger, Bloomberg
In Greenland, locals hunt reindeer for food and use dog sleds to traverse the ice sheet. Soon they may be working on offshore rigs and counting their money.

Oil companies have begun looking for crude deposits off the west coast and Joern Skov Nielsen, deputy director of Greenland’s Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, said there may be more oil there than the entire past production of the North Sea.

… Given the icy conditions, oil production may cost as much as $46 per barrel, according to Oil and Gas Journal. While exploration is complicated by icebergs as tall as 15-story buildings, global warming is helping.

… All this is theoretical at the moment, because no one knows for sure how much oil there is. Nielsen said there’s “a risk” that the comparisons with the North Sea will prove over-optimistic. And politicians expecting oil to “bubble up from under the water in two to three years” are “very unrealistic,” said NunaOil’s Olsen.

On the other hand, “if everything goes well” in west Greenland, “production will be set up in about 12 years,” Nielsen said.
(27 March 2008)
Contributer driller writes: “Oil rush in Greenland?”

New Natural Gas Rush in Pennsylvania

Robert Tuttle, Bloomberg
Range Resources Corp., the best- performing oil-and-gas producer in the Standard & Poor’s 500 over the past year, is leading a natural-gas rush in Pennsylvania, where Edwin Drake drilled the world’s first commercially successful oil well in Titusville in 1859.

… The race to find gas has increased the cost of leases 10- fold in the past month and has even swept up the Drake Well Museum, a few hundred feet from the historic site, which may drill a 6,000 foot-deep well to fuel exhibits and heat buildings.

“We are seeing this industry come back to where it began 150 years ago,” said museum director Barbara Zolli, 64.
(27 March 2008)
Contributor driller writes:
I didn’t find a hint on how much is actually recoverable – and at what price. Maybe they are out for a surprise.

China faces diesel, gasoline shortages

Oil & Gas Journal
China is facing shortages of diesel and gasoline as the gap widens between rising international crude prices and centrally controlled fuel markets.

Shortages first reported in southern and inland China apparently are spreading to the wealthier areas in the north and east as filling stations struggle to obtain fuel shipments from refiners.

… After decades of supplying its own energy needs, China became a net importer in the 1990s as its economy boomed. Imports rose 12.3% last year to 1.1 billion bbl, and they now supply nearly half of China’s demand.
(28 March 2008)