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Marginal Fields: Obstacles or Opportunities?
References to the marginal field are increasingly frequent in discussions of the petroleum outlook and of petroleum policies. This paper looks at the reasons for such attention to the topic, and examines the obstacles and opportunities represented by the marginal field.
Forecasts of world supply shortages, host country development programs and the apparently restricted range of commercial opportunities for private companies in many areas have all acted to focus attention to the marginal field.
The margin can be viewed as a function of basic factors (geological, cost, technology) and of political and financial factors. The paper argues that the former factors are not so constraining at present as the latter, and that new attention to political and financial considerations in contractual and fiscal arrangements will provide opportunities to extend the margin of petroleum exploration and development to the mutual benefit of host countries and private companies.
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