The Next Oil Frontier

Most of the major oil discoveries that remain to be found in the world will be offshore, in deep water.

The other day, I attended a spirited session at the annual convention of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists concerning deep-water energy development. The always-ebullient Brazilian geochemist Marcio Mello — CEO of Brazil’s HRT Petroleum Co. — wowed the crowd with a discussion of the oil potential of the South Atlantic. He was quick to point out that six of the last 10 giant oil discoveries in the world were offshore Brazil. And then Marcio moved the discussion to the other side of the South Atlantic and gave an eye-popping description of the oil potential of the offshore regions of Namibia.

“The Namibian offshore is analogous to that of Brazil,” Marcio stated, with slides and hard data to back it up. Then he showed his proprietary research into natural offshore oil seeps off Namibia, and the geochemistry that demonstrates immense hydrocarbon potential. As for the reservoirs, he showed a slide of proprietary seismic data. ‘And look at this turbidite stuff,’ he yelled, as a couple hundred seasoned geologists in the room both gasped and chuckled.

Indeed, Namibia is destined for oil riches.