3 Key Regions for Energy Development: Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), Statoil ASA (ADR) (STO)

The success of employing new technology to exploit unconventional sources in the U.S. can sometimes distract us from the world energy picture. Discoveries of oil and gas in foreign lands can and will impact the state of American energy, however. With that in mind, let’s take a look at energy development in three very different places: East Africa, New Zealand, and Colombia.

East Africa

Photo Credit: A.Davey

The story about East Africa’s offshore natural gas reserves has been growing for quite some time. Like any good story, the numbers and size of the reserves in question grow as it gets told more often. Except unlike most fables, these outsized numbers aren’t borne of exaggeration but of more drilling and a growing number of new discoveries. The region’s reserves are so highly sought after that in the past week alone there were three separate announcements involving some of the biggest oil companies in the world.

Last week, Italian energy company Eni SpA (ADR) (NYSE:E) announced that it was selling a 20% stake in its Area 4 project offshore Mozambique to China National Petroleum Corporation for $4.2 billion. CNPC is China’s largest oil and gas company. A state-owned operation, it is also the parent of the publicly traded PetroChina Company Limited (ADR) (NYSE:PTR). Area 4 is thought to hold 75 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Also last week, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Norway’s Statoil ASA (ADR) (NYSE:STO) discovered gas at their third deepwater well in Block 2, offshore Tanzania. With a 65% working interest in the project, Statoil is the operator and has completed five wells in the block over the last 15 months. Estimates now place the total gas reserves at 15 tcf to 17 tcf (trillion cubic feet).

Finally, Russian gas company Gazprom announced yesterday that it was also seeking a stake in Eni’s Area 4 project. Talks are only in the early stages, but expect this deal to continue to develop as Russian President Vladimir Putin travels to Africa for the BRICS summit next week.