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Global E&P Dollars Best Spent in U.S. Onshore, GOM, Says Survey

Eight U.S. states and the Gulf of Mexico are among the top 10 best places in the world in which to invest in oil and natural gas, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual survey.

The 12th annual Global Petroleum Survey by the Canadian-based research firm quizzed 256 petroleum industry executives and managers regarding barriers to investment in oil and gas exploration and production around the globe. Responses were tallied to rank provinces, states, countries and other geographical regions (e.g., offshore areas), according to the extent of such barriers.

“The United States remains the most attractive region for investment globally, followed by Europe,” authors Ashley Stedman and Kenneth P. Green wrote. “Canada’s score declined this year, causing this region to drop one spot to the fourth most attractive region in the world for investment.”

There was enough data from the survey to evaluate 80 jurisdictions that hold 53% of proved global oil and gas reserves and account for 68% of global oil and gas production.

The United States far and away is considered the most attractive place to invest, led by Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Wyoming, North Dakota, Alabama, Montana, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GOM), UK-North Sea and Louisiana. In the 2017 survey, six U.S. jurisdictions made the top 10 list.

Oklahoma, Texas, and North Dakota “consistently rank in the top 10, having been there in the last seven iterations of the survey,” the authors wrote. Unlike in years past, no Canadian jurisdictions ranked in the global top 10 this year.

The 10 least attractive jurisdictions for investment, starting with the worst, were Venezuela, Yemen, Tasmania, Victoria, Libya, Iraq, Ecuador, New South Wales, Bolivia and Indonesia.

The jurisdictions that are evaluated are assigned scores on each of 16 questions pertaining to factors that are known to affect investment decisions. The scores then are used to generate a Policy Perception Index for each jurisdiction that reflects the perceived extent of the barriers to investment.

The jurisdictions are then sorted into clusters, based on the size of their proved reserves, which allows for an apples-to-apples comparison of the respondents’ policy perceptions of the resources that are available for commercialization.

“Of the 11 jurisdictions with the largest petroleum reserves, the five that rank as most attractive or least likely to deter investment are Texas, Russia, Alberta, Egypt and Mozambique,” the authors said.

“Alberta is the only Canadian jurisdiction in the group of jurisdictions with large reserve holdings. Venezuela is the least attractive jurisdiction for investment globally.”

Of the 36 jurisdictions with medium-sized reserves, the 10 most attractive for investment are led by No. 1 Oklahoma, followed by Wyoming, North Dakota. U.S. GOM, UK-North Sea, Louisiana, Oman, Norway-North Sea, Norway-Other Offshore and New Mexico.

“The only Canadian jurisdictions in this group are Newfoundland & Labrador (14th of 36), and British Columbia (27th of 36). For the second straight year, British Columbia is Canada’s least attractive jurisdiction for oil and gas investment,” wrote Stedman and Green.

Of the 29 jurisdictions with relatively small proved oil and gas reserves, the top 10 performers are in order Kansas, Alabama, Montana, Mississippi, UK-Other Offshore (except North Sea), Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Utah, South Australia and Nova Scotia.

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