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Oil and Gas in the Arctic

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In overcoming the technical challenges of oil production in the Arctic, are we making the most of a strategic resource or heading for an environmental and political minefield?

The vast Arctic region is probably the last remaining unexplored source of hydrocarbons on the planet.

In the past three decades of oil exploration in the Arctic, more than 200 billion barrels of oil have been discovered. Ultimate resources are estimated at 114 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and 2000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. If these estimates are correct, these hydrocarbons would account for more than a fifth of the world’s undiscovered reserves. This great prize, in a world of diminishing resources, has stimulated both governmental and industry interest in areas such as the US and Canadian Beaufort Sea, East and West Greenland and the Kara Sea.

Balanced against this are the considerable technical challenges of exploring and producing hydrocarbons in areas where sea ice is present for more than half the year as well as the underlying threat of damage to a pristine Arctic environment.

Harnessing the considerable resources of the ‘Final Frontier’ is going to be fraught with many technical, political and environmental challenges that will engage many minds, both scientific and political over the next half century.

Speaker

Alastair Fraser (Imperial College)

Al Fraser currently holds the post of EGI Chair in Petroleum Geoscience at Imperial College, London. He has a BSc from Edinburgh University and a PhD from Glasgow University in the UK, both in Geology.

Previously, Al worked for BP as a Petroleum Geologist/Exploration Manager for over 30 years. His career in petroleum exploration, took him to most corners of the world including N. America, Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Far East. Following the BP Amoco merger, he led the team which made the significant Plutonio discovery in Block 18, deepwater Angola. He is the author of many papers on the Petroleum Geology of extensional basins most notably on the North Sea Jurassic and northern England Carboniferous.

He continues to pursue his interests in rifts and rifted margins and this forms his main area of research focus. Areas of interest include the following:
  • Eastern Mediterranean – the Messinian Salinity Crisis, salt-sediment interaction and its impact on hydrocarbon prospectivity of the region
  • Arctic Oil & Gas Exploration – the final exploration and production frontier. What is the scale and distribution of these resources and how can we develop the technologies to exploit these reserves in a socially and environmentally acceptable way?
  • South Atlantic Margins – conjugate margin evolution and fill. Crustal to basin scale.

Recent interest in UK Shale Gas has allowed him to further develop previous research on the UK Carboniferous and Jurassic.

An additional and important aspect of his role is as Director of the EGI/Imperial Research Alliance.

Al is currently Science Secretary of the Geological Society of London.

Oil and Gas in the Arctic

Event Details

Date: 19 February 2014

Venue: The Geological Society, London

Speaker: Alastair Fraser

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Further reading list

Contact

Naomi Newbold
Tel: 020 7432 0981
naomi.newbold@geolsoc.org.uk