It's a common saying in the oil and gas industry today that the world is running out of oil with the ever-increasing demand for oil as an energy source, but I say we are not running out of oil, we are only running out of conventional oil. With the latest exploitation of the shale gas in the US, and with US being a major importer of the conventional gas from many nations like Nigeria, it is important that these nations try to diversify before they run dry of their conventional hydrocarbon and fold hands watching while other nations are exploiting and making money big time in the crude market.
Unconventional reservoirs are mainly any hydrocarbon reservoir that require special recovery operations outside the conventional operating practices. They have low permeability (ability to oil to flow) and porosity (oil storativity). Resources in these reservoirs include tight-gas sands, gas shales and oil shales, coalbed methane (widely referred to as CBM), heavy oil and tar sands, and gas-hydrate deposits. To bring them forth, they require assertive recovery solutions like simulation treatments or steam injection in the process called the Improved Oil Recovery(IOR-process).
Unconventional reservoirs require no trapping system thereby defiling the usual definition of a reservoir that a source rock, a seal or the trapping system must be available before oil can be stored. As in the case of shale, where the shale formation is both the source rock as well as the storage reservoir.
Research has shown that only a third of the world oil and gas reserves are from the conventional sources, the remainder are have been ascertained to be of unconventional resources. This is more visible in the abundance of unconventional reserves spread across the world waiting to be harnessed. Unconventional resources abound in many nations of the world like the North American countries of US, Canada, etc, Africa countries of Nigeria, Ethiopia, Madagascar, and Angola.
The benefits of harnessing these resources abounds for the nations of the world as it will lead to energy diversification, shifting much of the demand for energy away from the conventional sources; alternative revenue generation, which is synonymous to diversification of the economy; energy security is also one, which would make it more convenient for nations to explore their reserves at will without any fear of an imminent end to the natural resources they are blessed with.
This is my take on exploiting the unconventional resources of the world.
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