Which Of These 3 Spots Will Be The Next Big Oil Opportunity?

Lots going on in oil and gas this week. With three ripples in different parts of the world potentially suggesting waves of new opportunity coming for project developers. 

First, in Utah. Where regulators moved this past week to streamline permitting for new oil and gas wells across the state. 

Local officials said they are seeking to implement a “permit by rule” regime for new wells. Which would head off the need for individual permits on every new project — thus making it substantially easier for drillers. 

That’s a potentially critical development, given Utah’s proximity to one of America’s fastest-emerging shale plays: the Mancos shale in New Mexico. With a drilling boom in Utah having the potential to unlock similar geology across the state. 

Such unconventional potential is also at hand just across the U.S. border in Mexico. And it appears officials in that country may soon make additional acreage available for foreign bidders. 

Mexico’s national hydrocarbon commission head Juan Carlos Zepeda said this past week his agency is studying a potential unconventional bid round for the coming year. Possibly held in conjunction with a licensing round for conventional oil and gas projects — which Zepeda confirmed is very likely for 2018. 

He noted that terms for the new bid round will likely be released late this year or early next. Meaning we could soon get a look at the latest slate of opportunities in Mexico’s emerging hydrocarbon sector. 

A final spot to watch for new opportunities is shaping up in a further-afield place: Angola. Where reports yesterday suggest a major shakeup could be coming in the oil and gas sector. 

Angola’s recently-elected president Joao Lourenco ordered a 30-day review of the country’s petroleum industry — aimed at finding ways to “improve the current conditions of investment”.

Sources in-country said that was a veiled move to take action against state oil firm Sonangol — run by the daughter of former longtime president Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Raising the possibility that power — and projects — could be stripped from this local giant. 

If so, we could see opportunities open up in Angola’s substantial and proven oil fields. Watch for results of the presidential review next month — and for details coming on Mexico’s new bid rounds, as well as a final decision on Utah’s new drilling rules. One of these three spots could be the next big thing in energy. 

Here’s to good things coming in threes,

Dave Forest

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