Continental puzzle pieces give clues to oil discoveries

Bloomberg/Houston Chronicle:
Statoil said oil discoveries off eastern Canada may signal potential crude finds off Morocco in northwest Africa because the regions could have similar geology.

Statoil’s latest Bay du Nord find in Canada’s Flemish Pass Basin may hold as much as 600 million barrels of recoverable oil, according to the Norwegian company. That part of the North American coast used to be joined with Africa before the continents’ tectonic plates moved apart more than 100 million years ago.

“The analogue is probably more toward northwestern Africa, toward Morocco,” Tim Dodson, vice president of exploration at Statoil, said in an interview . “This is where potentially you could look.”

Some of the world’s biggest oil companies, including BP and Chevron Corp., plan to expand operations off Morocco this decade, while the U.K.’s Cairn Energy started a new well there in October. Across the Atlantic Ocean in Canada, Statoil and local partner Husky Energy made their first discovery at the Flemish Pass’s Mizzen prospect off Newfoundland in 2009.

“Maybe the Mizzen well told them something,” Dodson said of the other oil producers. “It’s pretty strange to me that they are taking positions in Morocco, but then they don’t want to join in Canada, where we have already proven the hydrocarbon system.”

Statoil had sought more partners to share drilling costs prior to the Bay du Nord and Harpoon finds this year, according to Dodson. The company now plans to appraise the discoveries further before offering any stakes in the fields and deciding on their development.
I find the ancient continental alignments fascinating.  Was there just one huge ocean when there was basically one large continent?   It is an interesting commercial puzzle for those looking for oil discoveries.


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