Oil Bonanza In Western Hemisphere

New technology is allowing massive investment in oil drilling in North and South America, from Canada to Argentina. This article centers on the investment in the region's two largest economies, U.S. and Brazil, and its effect on energy geopolitics.
September 27, 2011, 5am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Colombia has joined the ranks of major oil exporters; there have been major discoveries in Argentina, and Chinese rigs are drilling in Cuba's waters. As the hemisphere produces more of its own oil, there is less reliance on the Mideastern supplies. The U.S. has reduced OPEC imports by over a million barrels a day since 2007.

"The hemisphere's oil boom is all the more remarkable given that two of its traditional energy powerhouses, Venezuela (considered to have larger oil reserves than Saudi Arabia) and Mexico, have largely been left out, held in check by entrenched resource nationalism.

The challenges of tapping Brazil's new offshore fields, located beneath 6,000 feet of water and salt beds formed by the evaporation of ancient oceans, are even greater (than those in North Dakota and Texas). Petrobras, which has ambitions of surpassing ExxonMobil as the world's largest publicly traded oil company, is investing more than $200 billion to meet its goals."

"To some degree, we're going to see a new rebalancing, with the Western Hemisphere moving back to self-sufficiency", said Daniel Yergin, an American oil historian. (See NYT book review of his latest book, The Quest).

Thanks to Mark Boshnack

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Published on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 in The New York Times - Americas
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