"Oil extraction used to be as easy as sticking a straw into the sand: in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq, it has largely stayed that way. But resource nationalism means the Middle East is now largely off-limits to western groups. Shut out of the “easy oil”, they have gone to the ends of the earth in search of the world’s remaining reserves. Companies such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil have invested billions to turn Canada’s bitumen into synthetic oil, and freeze natural gas into an exportable liquid. They have ventured out into the remote, iceberg-strewn waters of the Arctic, discovered huge new oil reserves under a 2km-thick layer of salt off the coast of Brazil and “fracked” their way through vast shale and “tight” oil formations from Texas to North Dakota ... Yet one of the most alarming elements of the increase in cost and complexity is that the majors have been getting much less of a bang for their buck ... European majors failed to find enough new oil and gas to replace what they had produced, chalking up a reserve replacement ratio of only 92 per cent ... In the past decade, the compound average growth rate has been “practically zero”, as much of the new production has been used to make up for the natural depletion of mature oilfields ... We have to realise as an industry that the easy oil and easy gas is over. We are moving into areas that are more challenging and that tends to mean the costs per barrel are higher than 10 years ago."

Zum Artikel von Sylvia Pfeifer und Guy Chazan, erschienen in der Financial Times (11. April 2013)