An emerging sweet spot for the oil and gas industry, Africa is accelerating exploration and production developments in both its onshore and offshore sectors. National oil corporations are partnering with industry heavyweights from around the globe to rebuild infrastructure in the world's second largest continent.
Vast oil and gas reserves are harnessed within Africa's respective countries, as well as the surrounding waters of the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Suez Canal and Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Sea to the west.
Abundant energy resources are available in East and South East Asia. Major energy producing countries in the region include China, Malaysia and former OPEC member Indonesia, while Myanmar may potentially join the producing group following the end of military rule and the opening of the nation's petroleum sector to more foreign investments.
Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam have an estimated 31.4 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and 309.5 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves as of 2013.
Geographically surrounded by Russia to the north, India in the south, Central China to the east and the Caspian Sea to the west, Central Asia has made strides in recent years to exploit its fossil-fuel resources following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The ex-Soviet republics of Central Asia, specifically Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, boast plentiful oil and gas reserves, and the offshore Caspian region is the primary energy hub for these countries' burgeoning exploration and production operations.
The westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Black Sea to the southeast, the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The economic and political association of 27 European member states, the European Union (EU) has developed a single market through which a standardized system of laws apply, and under this union, sixteen member states have adopted the euro as its common currency.
In 2006, the EU had a gross inland energy consumption of 1,825 million tonnes of oil equivalent, with nuclear energy as the primary source of energy produced in the region. Currently, the EU imports around 82% of its oil and 57% of its natural gas resources.
Harvesting an abundance of oil and natural gas resources, the Middle East supplies nearly half of all exports to the global oil market. Middle Eastern countries Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are all members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
OPEC pumps roughly 40% of the world's oil, with Saudi Arabia leading the pack for the greatest amount of output. OPEC's crude oil production was 28.7 million barrels per day in the first half of 2009.
Spanning Canada and the United States, North America is home to a plethora of major industry players, including Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's second-largest publicly traded company after Royal Dutch Shell. The region's oil and natural gas industry is focused on developing oil sands, deepwater gulf prospects and increasingly profitable shale deposits stretching across the continent.
One of the premier sweet spots for deepwater exploration, the Gulf of Mexico is the largest body of water indenting the U.S. continental coastline, and its subsea developments continue to spark both national and international interest.
One particular region that has continued to drill deeper to hit the hydrocarbon jackpot is located in the world's southern hemisphere and features unconventional conditions for recovering hydrocarbons. Specifically, Brazil's energy giant Petrobras is taking the reins for unlocking vast amounts of oil and gas below layers of salt, rock and sand, and several of the most memorable finds are located in extreme water depths in the country's subsalt basins.
Operator of the Orinoco heavy oil belt, Venezuela's state-controlled PDVSA also reigns as a primary player in South America's energy sector. As a region, South America boasts some of the largest oil-and-gas discoveries ever made and is estimated to contain billions in recoverable hydrocarbon reserves.