posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 11:32 PM
There are a lot of different untapped regions, or relatively untapped regions. South America is big. You have the rainforest side of Peru, and
Patagonia, Argentina. They just found the worlds largest single oil deposit off the coast Angola. The Caspian Basin is big. Brunei as a tiny nation of
300,000 has already produced well over a billion barrels of oil. My guess is that the Spratlys are extremely rich, but there is also the possiblity of
Going by what a learned geologist ex-poster said, we could live at our current consumption of natural gas for another 500 years. The Spratly's would
only tack on to this. There's a great future in natural gas for power plants and automobiles but that skirts the issue.
The Spratly's alone wouldn't contribute very much to the global oil output, but they would push it up for sure. Seeing as though the nations that
dispute the territory are all big industry players as it is, the economic impacts may be lost amongst the bureaucracy of the government and
corporations. But trickle down from any oil source is notably sufficient. The Phillippines, Malaysia and especially China have large populations to
support while Brunei boasts one of the highest standards of living in the world, so they would barely notice it. The biggest economic impacts would be
felt in the upper class who have ties to the industry and possibly government officials (Brunei - that's a given). Most of these countries have a
national oil company or are partnered with a corporation that wins the bidding war and a smattering of joint ventures.
My rough estimation on how long the reserves in the Spratly's last is between 20 and 50 years depending on the operations and successful location of
wells. Finding the wells takes a long time so you would see the "float" drag the shelf life on and on. The reserves are basically there to be
tapped, its an issue of how fast companies can locate and exploit the resources. That's the major limiting factor of oil wells, the efficiency of
large oil companies. New oil wells would be discovered and put in place all the time. They are pretty much spread out (with the exception of the find
in Angola) and it takes a lot of work to get it out of the ground. The harder it is to find, the longer the reserve lasts.
All in all, there are just too many variables to come up with a decent estimation at how long the reserve would last.