(EnergyAsia, September 28) — “There is no shortage of oil and gas in the ground, but quenching the world’s thirst for them will call for major investment in modern technologies,” said Claude Mandil, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) at the launch of its new book, Resources to Reserves, Oil and Gas Technologies for the Energy Markets of the Future. The publication reviews recent and anticipated future technological developments in the oil and gas production and their impact on future supplies of hydrocarbons.

Oil and gas are likely to continue to dominate the world’s energy supply for several decades. The IEA projects that, without new energy policies, oil demand will grow by more than 50% between 2002 and 2030 and that gas demand will almost double, with most of the easy, low cost, hydrocarbons being located in the Middle East. Accelerated technological development is going to be the key to supplying the required quantities at prices that do not impair worldwide economic growth, while ensuring diversity of supply origins.

A 5% increase in worldwide recovery, applying more advanced technologies, would bring more oil than Saudi Arabia’s reserves. New reservoirs have to be accessed in deep offshore or remote regions where more than half of undiscovered oil is likely to be found. Furthermore, “non-conventional” deposits need further exploitation. Canadian oil sands alone contain more oil than all the world’s current reserves.

Taking into account expected technical progress, the book concludes that most of the world’s vast hydrocarbon resources can be turned into proven reserves in the future at oil prices significantly below current levels.

The information and analysis contained in this book are expected to contribute to current debates on the future supply of oil and gas. It examines the main required technologies and how governments can encourage their development by industry.