Unconventional “tight” oil fields in Texas and North Dakota have been transforming the American energy landscape and the economies of those two regions. But according to Ed Crooks at the Financial Times, the latest study from IHS says there are three shale formations outside North America with even more productive possibilities.
The locations are the Vaca Muerta shale of Argentina, the Bazhenov shale in Siberia, and some Silurian shale in northern Africa. The bad news for people who like internal combustion engines is that this oil looks more expensive to extract than what you’ve got in Bakken or Eagle Ford. There are also significant political issues around some of these sights. Argentina, for example, privatized its state-owned oil company back in the 1990s and then renationalized it last year. That’s the kind of thing that makes foreigners reluctant to invest the resources and personnel that will be necessary to exploit Vaca Muerta’s potential. But if oil demand from India and China keeps growing, the price will be right to tap these fields and Russian cities like Perm and Omsk could be the next boomtowns.