Caspian Sea Oil Reserves
Natural Gas
Global Warming
To give a sense of the range of expectations about oil in the Caspian Sea region, here are links to some recent articles:

Exxon Abandons Flagship Azeri Well [2004 Oct 4]

"BAKU (Reuters) - U.S. oil major ExxonMobil's hopes of a big oil strike on its flagship Azeri offshore field [Caspian region] faded on Monday after it said it had shut down the first ultradeep well there after failing to find commercial deposits...

"At 7,087 meters, the well was the deepest in the Caspian and Azeri geologists have said it was the most expensive too, costing Exxon more than $100 million.

"The results of drilling on the Zafar-Mashal field had been expected to give a big clue as to whether the Caspian country's shelf contained more significant reserves or whether its potential has been overestimated.

"Exxon's block is currently the only active new exploration project on the Azeri shelf, despite the existence of over 20 production-sharing agreements between Baku and multinationals."

Kazakh offshore consortium announces oil discovery

"OKIOC continued to urge caution on Monday. 'We have drilled just one well in a big structure,' said OKIOC spokesman Matthew Bateson... 'We have another well planned under the exploration programme and then plan to move to an appraisal programme.'... The first well had tested at 600 cubic metres of oil per day and 200,000 cubic metres of gas per day." [Yahoo! July 24, 2000]

Oil-rich Kazakhstan could ease U.S. pain.

"Gas prices have rocketed ... and as tempers flare politicians look for ways to ease Americans' pain. The search for a major alternative source of oil is an obvious option and a primary reason Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will spend a week in the oil-rich Caspian Sea region beginning April 14.... In 1998 the State Department estimated the Caspian region has reserves of oil and gas at 178 billion barrels or more...." [San Jose Mercury News, April 4, 2000]

Comment: "It seems that the Kashagan East well in the northern Caspian has made a discovery of about 10 billion barrel (another Prudhoe Bay) in an immensely expensive operation. It is however a solitary huge structure and does not herald further major discoveries capable of having a world impact. The potential of the Caspian has been generally exaggerated in a pitiful example of wishful thinking as the West dreams of countering Middle East control." [C. J. Campbell, June 2000]

A recent Wall Street Journal article updated oil prospects in the Caspian area:

"A growing number of wells are coming up dry in the Caspian Sea, raising questions about the reserves in a region that some have promoted as a potential Middle East of the next millennium .... In the six years since this chunk of the former Soviet frontier opened to outside investment, major oil companies have spent billions of dollars drilling for oil, and haven't yet hit a new discovery significant enough to repay the investment .... In a report last year, the U.S. State Department estimated that the Caspian region's possible oil reserves could reach 178 billion barrels, ... [But] several independent consulting firms now place total probable reserves in the Caspian region at about one-tenth the original U.S. government estimates .... at between 15 billion and 31 billion barrels of crude, ... That would be a good strike, but even at the high end of that range, the Caspian would contribute about 3% of the world's oil supply. By contrast, the Middle East holds about 60% of the world's known reserves."
[Cooper & Pope, Wall Street Journal, October 12, 1998]

Big Oil Under the Caspian? [Richard Kerr, Science, vol 281, p 1130, 21 August 1998]

What does Russia see in Chechnya? Oil [Andrew Meier, Jan, 20, 1995]

The History and Politics of Chechen Oil [Robert E. Ebel, 1995?]

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