Just ran across this interesting report on possible new oil reserves in… Albania.
Gustavson assigns 2.987 billion barrels with 3.014 trillion cubic feet of associated gas as the P50 prospective oil resources in its oil with associated gas case. Gustavson notes that because of the depth it is possible that the prospects will hold natural gas. In its oil with a gas cap case Gustavson calculates the prospective resources to total 1.4 billion barrels of light oil and 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Gustavson estimates that in the event only gas is present the P50 prospective resource is 28 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Gustavson is a major petroleum engineering firm, so this should be taken seriously.
Just under 3 billion barrels, of which 1.4 bn is the easy-to-refine light oil: how much is that? Well, by way of comparison, Saudi Arabia has 260 billion barrels of proven reserves, and Mexico has 12 billion. So this is not exactly a new Caspian Sea. Albania won’t be joining OPEC. On the other hand, it’s not chump change either.
And the natural gas is nice too — 15 trillion cubic feet is enough to make it worth running a pipeline north to Central Europe. In the next decade, the Swiss and Germans may be heating their homes in part with Albanian gas. It’s not going to eliminate Europe’s reliance on Russian hydrocarbon, or even much reduce it. But it’ll help a bit.
Albania already has some modest oil fields — enough to supply about half the local energy needs. Fortunately for Albania, this hasn’t resulted in massive local subsidies; oil there costs only a bit less than elsewhere in the region. (I say “fortunately” because if it had subsidies, they’d now be impossible to get rid of.) It also has a couple of refineries, so it would be able to capture that much more value before sending the oil along.
The fields are at least three years away from exploitation, and probably more. So Albania will go through another election cycle, and will have some time to get ready. It will need to. While the amount of money involved is modest on the scale of global or even European oil transactions, it’s pretty big in an Albanian context.