Assessment of the Greater Caspian Region Petroleum Reserves and Their Role in World Energy
Andrei V. Belopolsky, Manik Talwani, 2007. "Assessment of the Greater Caspian Region Petroleum Reserves and Their Role in World Energy", Oil and Gas of the Greater Caspian Area, Pinar O. Yilmaz, Gary H. Isaksen
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Since the breakup of the former Soviet Union, the Greater Caspian region has become available to foreign investors for developing existing hydrocarbon resources and for oil and gas prospecting. Having a large territory and a long history of oil production, the Greater Caspian has attracted many oil companies, large and small. However, a very significant uncertainty in the amount of proven and potential hydrocarbon reserves in the region exists mainly because of differences between Soviet and Western methods of reserve estimation. More definite reserve estimates are important for decision making in many spheres, including business and politics.
In our study, we focus on compiling information about each geological basin in the region and evaluating reserve estimates that came from different sources, such as state government, exploration and production companies, and independent consultants. We then compare the Greater Caspian hydrocarbon reserves with other oil-producing countries to assess the market share of the Central Asian countries and to estimate their potential. Our results show that the Greater Caspian proven reserves account for only 3% of world oil reserves and 7% of gas.
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Oil and Gas of the Greater Caspian Area
Throughout time, the greater Caspian area has maintained its position as one of the major petroleum provinces in the world. Its early history as a prolific producer of oil is well known. Caspian region exploration dates to the seventh century B.C., during the time of the Median Kingdom in today's southern Azerbaijan. Oil played an important role in the everyday lives of these ancient tribes of the region, and it is still a very important commodity today. The past two decades have seen many important advances in our knowledge of the geological evolution of hydrocarbon-bearing sedimentary basins. The success of modern exploration is, to a large extent, based on new advances in both deep and 3-D seismic imaging, as well as improved pressure-prediction and pre-drill oil and gas quality predictive methodologies, to mention just a few. Nevertheless, large areas of the greater Caspian region have remained unexplored due to a variety of factors such as deep-water conditions and zones with high pore-pressures in the South Caspian Sea and The Black Sea, and vast shallow-water regions with harsh winter ice conditions in the North Caspian Sea. This publication contains 12 extended abstracts and 6 full-length papers that discuss technology development, challenges in estimating proven and potential reserves, outcrop-based studies of potential reservoirs, regional tectonics and geodynamic evolution, and source rock and stratigraphic analyses of the greater Caspian area.