|Map showing location of the Laptev Sea Shelf Province and assessment units. Click to enlarge.|
The Laptev Sea Shelf province, in the Arctic waters off of the Russian Federation, holds an estimated 3.07 billion barrels of crude oil in undiscovered resources, according to an assessment by the US Geological Survey (USGS) as part of its Circum-Arctic Oil and Gas Resource Appraisal (CARA).
The Laptev region holds a total of 9.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent in undiscovered resources, with some 32.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The USGS estimates the greatest volume of undiscovered crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids to be in the West Laptev Grabens Assessment Unit.
The Laptev assessment is the second to be released as part of the CARA project; USGS released its assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the East Greenland Rift Basins Province in October.
The Greenland assessment concluded that the mean undiscovered, conventional petroleum resources in the province to be approximately 31.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent of oil, gas, and natural gas liquids. In comparison to the world´s 500 other oil and gas provinces, if this resource is proved and realized, northeastern Greenland would rank 19th.
In comparison to the earlier USGS assessment of northeastern Greenland made as part of the World Petroleum Assessment of 2000, this current assessment estimated significantly less total resource, more natural gas and natural gas liquids, and an increased ratio of gas to oil. New geological data indicate that the burial and uplift history of the province and the source rock character are suggestive of significantly more gas generation than previously interpreted.
The 2000 assessment estimated 47 billion barrels of oil, 81 trillion cubic feet TCF of natural gas, and 4 billion barrels of natural gas liquids. The 2007 assessment of Greenland estimates a mean of 8.9 billion barrels of oil, 86.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 8.1 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.
The USGS World Petroleum Assessment of 2000 indicated that a large portion of the world’s remaining oil and gas resources may be in the Arctic. (This led to a mistaken and widely reported interpretation of the report that 25% of the world’s remaining undiscovered petroleum is within the Arctic.) However, the oil and gas basins evaluated in the report contained substantial tracts that were not within the Arctic, and the report did not include estimates of undiscovered resources from all basin areas north of the Arctic Circle.
The CARA project will be the first comprehensive, consistent assessment of Arctic oil and gas resources ever conducted in the public domain. USGS will continue to release interim results of various province evaluations during the coming year, with final results presented in the summer of 2008.