Big oil has been very successful at developing sophisticated technology to access oil in some pretty remote areas. Consider the technological skill necessary to drill several miles below the seabed at staggering depths, or the processing equipment needed to transform viscous bitumen into usable fuel — these are impressive feats of engineering and science.
But after years of spending billions of dollars on these challenges, the world’s largest oil companies are running into a serious problem; many projects are not profitable and won’t be anytime soon.
The Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI) has put together an impressive report that outlines the biggest and riskiest oil projects around the world being pursued by the oil majors. Many of them will not even break even unless oil prices rise by $30 to $40 dollars per barrel above the current price, which is around $100.
So, why then are oil majors putting shareholders’ money at risk by chasing such costly projects? CTI’s research identified a list of the costliest projects being pursued by the oil majors, which can be loosely grouped into five regions around the world. These projects are unprofitable, yet oil companies continue to pour money into them.