The World's Fast-Changing Oil Map


It wasn't so very long ago -- when yours truly was plying the halls of a predecessor company of Diamond Offshore , for instance -- that the world of energy exploration and production was largely limited to the U.S., including the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, and most of the countries that now comprise the OPEC cartel.

Indeed, at that time, Diamond Offshore's predecessor became something of a trend-setter when it mobilized a jackup rig to the Strait of Magellan to operate for Chile's national oil company. Today, however, the search for hydrocarbons has expanded dramatically, including a movement into progressively deeper waters off our own Gulf Coast. Even more recently, significant discoveries have been made in the ultra-deepwater Santos Basin of Brazil, although technical challenges there may delay production of that newly found oil for several years.

In the Eastern Hemisphere, while Angola has served as an energy production venue for several decades, within just the past year it has become apparent that offshore Angola possesses potentially prolific pre-salt formations that are effectively long lost cousins to those in the Santos Basin. Concurrently, Russia, which has become the world's largest energy producer, is preparing to move into new frontiers, especially its frigid arctic environs.

Finally, assuming it can move beyond its increasing geopolitical disruptions, the South China Sea appears to hold massive quantities of oil and gas. To the extent that activity in all of these emerging venues is fluid, we'll watch them carefully and enthusiastically, and we'll keep our Foolish friends abreast of significant changes as they occur. In the meantime, click on the map for detailed information on the emerging oil plays throughout the world.

The new oil landscape rests its laurels on increases in technology in both unconventional drilling and ultra-deep offshore drilling. To learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of one of these exiting offshore drillers, be sure to check out this brand-new premium report on Seadrill, put together by one of our top Stock Advisor analysts. Click here to get started.

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David Lee Smith has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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