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Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama Among Best Worldwide For E&P Investment, Says Fraser

The most attractive place to invest in large petroleum reserves anywhere in the world is Texas, with Oklahoma considered most attractive for medium-size reserves and Alabama the best for small reserves, according to the Fraser Institute's Global Petroleum Survey.

The ninth annual survey tallied responses from 439 industry executives and managers regarding how regions of the world rank for investing in exploration and production (E&P). The annual tally ranks states, provinces, countries and other geographic regions, including offshore areas.

Enough data was compiled to evaluate 126 jurisdictions, said authors Taylor Jackson, Kenneth P. Green and Kristine Ramsbottom. They generated a Policy Perception Index by scoring the answers to 16 questions.

"The United States continues to remain as the most attractive region in the world for investment, followed by Canada, which surpassed Australia to become the second most attractive region in the world for upstream petroleum investment," the authors said.

The 10 "most attractive jurisdictions for investment worldwide" are in order the Netherlands-Offshore, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Kansas, Arkansas, Saskatchewan, North Dakota and Manitoba.

"All of these jurisdictions were among last year's top 10 most attractive jurisdictions with the exception of Netherlands-Offshore," the authors said. "The only jurisdiction displaced from the top 10 was Wyoming."

Barriers identified by the respondents to E&P investment included high tax rates, costly regulatory obligations, uncertainty over environmental regulations and the interpretation/administration of regulations governing the upstream industry, as well as concerns regarding political stability and security of personnel and equipment.

Of the 14 jurisdictions identified as having "large" petroleum reserves, the top five considered most attractive for investment are Texas, United Arab Emirates, Alberta, Qatar and Kuwait. Alberta is the only Canadian jurisdiction with large reserve holdings. The five least attractive are Libya, Venezuela, Russia-Other, Iran and Iraq "account for over half of the proved oil and gas reserves all the jurisdictions included in the survey."

Thirty-eight jurisdictions were identified as having medium-sized reserves, with the 10 most attractive in order led by Oklahoma, North Dakota, Norway-North Sea, West Virginia, Louisiana, Norway-Other, Wyoming, U.S. Offshore-Gulf of Mexico, United Kingdom-North Sea and Pennsylvania. The only Canadian jurisdiction in this group, British Columbia, ranked 17th. Syria, Ecuador, Ukraine, Indonesia and Yemen "pose the greatest barriers to upstream investment."

There also are 66 jurisdictions with "relatively small proved oil and gas reserves." Of those, the 10 best for investment are Netherlands-Offshore, Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas, Arkansas, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, South Australia, New Zealand, and Montana. Deemed the least attractive in order are the U.S. Offshore-Pacific, Bangladesh, Timor Gap, Myanmar, and Argentina-Mendoza. Canadian provinces Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Yukon and the Northwest Territories ranked near the middle of the small reserve holder group.

The 10 least attractive jurisdictions for investment are led by Libya, followed by Venezuela, Syria, Ecuador, U.S. Offshore-Pacific, Russia-Other, Bangladesh, Quebec, Ukraine and Timor Gap.

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