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Unconventionals Across the Globe: Farm-In Opportunities Down Under and Beyond


While United States unconventional plays still receive much of the attention these days, there is no doubt that there is plenty of potential around the world for companies of any size. Regulatory, infrastructure and staffing problems are slowing the development of shale resources in most regions outside of the US and Canada, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world’s production opportunities are shutting down.

Southern Latin America has over 350 reported or potential farm-in opportunities alone. These changing strategies are the result of a number of political and economic issues, such as Argentina’s maneuvering with YPF, Petrobras changing focus, the Peruvian regulatory process and others. At the same time, companies that are positioning themselves appropriately see many opportunities to work new blocks or form new partnerships in the region.

Australia is another region with 200+ farm-in opportunities. More than 100 are publicly reported, and about 50 of those are offshore. Australia is known as a place with low capital entry and reasonable work program requirements to take a block. Because of this environment, there is always a great deal of activity and the associated opportunities. Australia has long been seen as a favorable place for small companies to thrive.

The country had a number of bid rounds over the last year, three of which are still open. The SA 2012 Acreage Release and September 2012 WA Acreage Release close in April 2013, while the 2012 Offshore Acreage Release Round 2 closes in May 2013.

A large spread of companies with specific expertise and small acreage blocks also create a number of opportunities in Western Europe. There are many smaller, newly formed companies with experienced personnel who will gain acreage and “work it up”, then create farm-out opportunities for drilling, etc.

As in the US, every block has its own characteristics that may make it more or less beneficial to different operators. However, with thousands of opportunities available across the globe there are plenty of options for operators of all sizes and areas of expertise.

Now it’s your turn. Have you taken advantage of any of the emerging global unconventional opportunities? If so, what were your major lessons learned? Leave a comment below.

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