Monday, October 4, 2010

Crude Oil and Gas Reserves Rise Despite Decline in Investment

Total hydrocarbon reserves worldwide increased for the first time since 2005 despite a decline in worldwide upstream investment and development spending. Worldwide upstream investment declined by 23 percent to $378 billion in 2009 among 224 oil and gas companies surveyed, but total worldwide total hydrocarbon reserves grew three percent, according to IHS Herold's report 2010 Global Upstream Performance Review. Production also increased one percent, driven by a 2.2 percent increase in natural gas output. Development spending declined by nearly 20 percent, the first decline in a decade.

"We were very surprised at the strength of reserve additions given the weak economic conditions and tightness in credit markets during 2009," said Nicholas D. Cacchione, director of IHS Herold and author of the report. Oil reserves reversed a two year decline, rising three percent to 164 billion barrels, mostly due to extensions and discoveries in the Canadian oil sands that added 8.6 billion barrels in positive reserve additions. A record 7.9 billion barrels also was added in the South and Central American regions also added a record 7.9 billion barrels.

Natural gas reserves climbed 3.7 percent despite a record 11.4 Tcf in negative reserve revisions, as development of unconventional plays in North America and liquefied natural gas resources in Asia accelerated. The decline in capital spending resulted from a 40 percent reduction by exploration and production companies, while the integrated oil companies cut investment by just nine percent. Exploration spending was most resilient, dropping just 12 percent to $62.7 billion. Unproved acquisition costs were down 71 percent, and a two percent dip in proved acquisition outlays would have fallen 50 percent were it not for the $20 billion Suncor/Petro-Canada merger.

Lower capital spending and higher reserves resulted in a near 50 percent decrease in reserve replacement costs, to $11.41/barrel of oil equivalent (BOE), and lowered finding and development costs to $12.23/BOE. Strong natural gas reserve additions led reserve replacement rates to the highest levels in five years.....Read the entire article.

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