Feasibility Study of Petroleum Development in the Ross Sea, Antarctica

by Dieter Beike, Univ of Texas at Austin, Austin, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Civil Engineering in the Oceans V


This paper discusses the viability of Antarctic petroleum development and estimates when Antarctic oil production could become economically feasible. The analysis is based on a hypothetical exploration and development model which would require a US $7.6 billion investment in 1991 constant dollars. Following a 20 year development period, a 30 year project life, producing an initial 144,000,000 bbl per year, with a 5% decline rate is assumed. Exploration is based on a floating conical drilling unit. Production is based on a concrete Tension Leg Platform concept, with subsea completion. Storage will be in a seafloor facility and transportation will be by icebreaking tankers. The Ross Sea was chosen as the most promising petroleum - producing area in the Antarctic, because it has the most promising sedimentary basins, has had the most scientific exposure, and is environmentally the most favorable area. The geology of the region, the environmental considerations, appropriate structural types and economic considerations are all discussed. The venture would be an extremely risky one with a large upfront investment.

Subject Headings: Offshore platforms | Wells (oil and gas) | Petroleum | Non-renewable energy | Offshore drilling | Feasibility studies | Economic factors | Antarctica | United States

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