Global prospects of unconventional oil in the turbulent market: a long term outlook to 2040
The Department of Research of Energy Complex of Russia and the World, The Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Nagornaya st., 31, k.2, 117186
2 Center for Energy Markets Studies, The Energy Institute of the Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 14 September 2018
Unconventional oils have taken the global oil industry by storm and have secured an 8% share in the global liquid fuels production in under 20 years. And it is without a doubt that these resources will continue to play an important role in the future. Cost analysis of unconventional oil types has shown that Light Tight Oil (LTO) or shale oil still holds potential for technological and economical improvement, however, the revolutionary stage in development has probably already been passed in the US. For the rest of the world, the issue of kick starting LTO production lies as much in the fields of adapting the existing technologies, as overcoming economic, legislative and environmental barriers. The same cannot be said for heavy oil and bitumen production, as open pit mining is demonstrating cost escalation and resource base depletion, while in situ production approach has reached the limit of technological progress and production costs are mostly determined by external factors. Oil price fluctuation and the emergence of more economically viable unconventional oil sources have shifted attention away from kerogen oil and substantially halted production technologies development. The forecast of unconventional oil was conducted along two scenarios: Baseline (a business-as-usual scenario) and Technological (scenario of forced technology development and transfer). The share of unconventional oil in global crude production will increase to 17–21%, depending on scenario. The main difference between scenarios is the rate of kerogen production, which benefits from the favorable conditions of the Technological scenario. Large-scale LTO production will remain a local North American phenomenon in both scenarios. More important than geological or technological factors is the unique business environment, characteristic for the USA, which would be impossible to replicate in any other country. Expansion of unconventional oil production as stimulated competition on the liquid fuels market. Conventional oil producers have mostly adapted to the new environment and will continue to dominate in the forecast period. The greatest pressure is put on the more costly alternative supply sources: biofuels, coal-to-liquid and gas-to-liquid; which have the least promising prospects in the current market.
© N.O. Kapustin & D.A. Grushevenko, published by IFP Energies nouvelles, 2018
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