Bazhenov-Neocomian oil formation covers 80 times the land area of the Bakken in the US and Canada

Forbes – another oil shale play that dwarfs the Bakken. It’s called The Bazhenov. It’s in Western Siberia, in Russia. And while the Bakken is big, the Bazhenov — according to a report last week by Sanford Bernstein’s lead international oil analyst Oswald Clint — “covers 2.3 million square kilometers or 570 million acres, which is the size of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico combined.” This is 80 times bigger than the Bakken.

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Note : This formation has 126 trillion barrels of oil equivalent biomass If the Bazhenov is Similar to Bakken, then a year 2000 estimate of 140 to 210 billion barrels of recoverable oil could be 15 to 100 times too low. The increase would be because of the improved horizontal drilling technology enabling a higher recover rate.

Bazhenov-Neocomian oil formation

This unconventional assessment unit includes fractured Bazhenov siliceous shales, which are also source rocks for these reservoirs. The shales cover most of the basin, but their productivity has been demonstrated mainly in the Greater Salym area. In-place resources of oil are apparently very large, but the ability of the reservoir rocks to produce varies greatly and is poorly understood. There is much similarity between this unit and the Bakken play of the Williston basin.

Source rocks are deep-marine siliceous and calcareous shales and siliciliths of the Volgian-lower Berriasian Bazhenov Formation. The formation is 20 to 50 m thick and contains 5 to 20 percent TOC. The kerogen is of Type II.

MATURATION: The Bazhenov Formation is presently in the oil window zone over most of the petroleum system area. Maximum maturation was achieved in the Oligocene.

The West Siberian basin is the largest petroleum basin in the world covering an area of about 2.2 million km 2.

Previous estimates for Western Siberian oil were 144 to 350 billion barrel. This is from the oil that leaked out of the Bazhenov oil formation.

There is also over a thousand trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the formation.

Russia already produces about 10 million barrels of oil per day, putting it about a million barrels a day ahead of Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in the Middle East.

Russia’s emerging shale oil play hasn’t escaped the attention of Robert Johnston, director, energy and natural resources at New York-based Eurasia Group, a geopolitical consulting firm. Johnston was in Edmonton recently to talk about global oil markets and the issues facing oilsands producers.

“The story for Alberta is what’s happening in the Russian market right now. All the focus is on China’s shale gas but it’s the tight oil play in Russia that I’m starting to get really interested in,” he told the Journal.

There will be no political or environmental factors to block development of the Russian oil and gas resources.

Those concerned about the climate and air and water pollution effects oil and natural gas will have to hope for development of some other energy breakthrough as the economics and political interests are in line for this to be developed. Only radically cheaper nuclear fission, new nuclear fusion or some other lower cost energy will shift development from this energy.

Getting access to the Bazhenov appears to be a key element in both ExxonMobil and Statoil‘s big new joint ventures with Kremlin-controlled Rosneft. Exxon’s recent statement says the two companies have agreed “to jointly develop tight oil production technologies in Western Siberia.”

No wonder. The geology of the Bazhenov looks just as good if not better. Its pay zone averages about 100 feet thick, and as Clint points out, the Bazhenov has lots of cracks and fractures that could make its oil flow more readily. The couple of test wells that he cites flowed at an average of 400 barrels per day. That’s in line with the Bakken average.

This Siberian bonanza might be news to most of us, but it’s old news to Big Oil. The conventional oil fields of Siberia have been producing millions of barrels a day for decades — oil that originated in the Bazhenov “source rock” then slowly oozed up over the millenia. From the looks of it, geologists have been looking at the Bazhenov for more than 20 years.

53 page USGS study of the western siberian oil basin. The study was from 2003

The latest Continental oil estimates are for 45 billion barrels of oil to be recoverable from the North Dakota portion of the Bakken oil formation.

A play 80 times bigger (than a 24 billion barrel estimate for the Bakken) like the Bazhenov would imply 1,920 billion barrels. That’s a preposterous figure, enough oil to satisfy all of current global demand for 64 years, or to do 5 million bpd for more than 1,000 years. Rosneft, says Clint, has already estimated 18 billion barrels on its Bazhenov acreage.

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