Date of Source: 18 Jan 2017
The Great Basin, which underlies most of Nevada and large swaths of the American Southwest, could become host to the next great North American hydrocarbon province. Although production from the Great Basin slipped to a mere 313,000 BOE in 2014 (from its peak of 4.01 MMBOE in 1990), the region is still largely unexplored. Geologist Alan K. Chamberlain believes that there are potentially hundreds of billions still left in geological formations underlying the Great Basin. […]
Yes, that’s in the 100,000,000,000s of barrels of undiscovered hydrocarbons! According to the authors, these deposit are accumulated within multiple stratigraphic layers, trapped beneath impermeable Paleozoic surface rocks — like a layer cake. They claim that this hypothesis is consistent with the fact that trillions of cubic feet of gas and hundreds of millions of barrels of oil have already been produced along the leading edge of the Cordillera thrust belt in Utah.
Note: undiscovered does not imply recoverable, let alone economical. Even if Chamberlain’s hypothesis is correct, most of these hydrocarbons would be located extremely deep… perhaps far too deep to permit commerciality in the near future.
At the end of the article, the authors note an “unprecedented opportunity” to acquire 10-year federal leases, which include mineral rights, overlying much of the Great Basin. There is not currently a land rush within this area, such as there are throughout many other North American sedimentary basins.
If there is indeed significant unrecognized potential for commercial hydrocarbons in this basin, cheap federal leases in this area would seem a decent speculation. Also, I cannot help but to wonder how a Trump Administration — which has promised to streamline the Department of the Interior’s leasing process — could affect this thesis.
Article Source: Alan K. Chamberlain, PhD; Kumar Bhatlacharjee. Great Basin Elephant Hunt: The Great Basin Shales are not just as orginically rich as other shales, they are many times thicker . Oil & Gas Financial Journal. 18 Jan 2017. Original content accessible: http://www.ogfj.com/articles/print/volume-14/issue-1/features/great-basin-elephant-hunt.html
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