by Frank Holmes: Investors
to Silver: ‘Let's Get Physical’
the human connection with oil goes back centuries. Initially used
for heating and light, oil has now become the lifeblood of industrialized
bank Carnegie recently put together some quick facts about oil that
are worth sharing.
First Oil Production: Way back in the year 327, Chinese engineers
used bamboo pipelines to drill 240 meters below the surface to extract
the earliest drops of oil. Carnegie notes that back then, oil was
known as “burning water” and was used to evaporate brine
and produce salt.
First Offshore Production: The first offshore production wasn’t
that far offshore at all. In 1891, workers from Riley and Banker’s
Oil drilled for oil in the Grand Lake St. Mary’s from a wooden
platform. The lake is about 70 miles west of Columbus, Ohio.
Deepest Offshore Well: The answer to this one we know all too well.
Back in September 2009, Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon hit
a depth of 10,683 meters, making it the deepest well in the world.
The record was short-lived as the Deepwater Horizon blew up just
over six months later.
Longest Producing Oil Well: I wonder if the oil riggers in Titusville,
Pennsylvania knew their handiwork would still be in use 150 years
later? The McClintock #1 started producing back in August 1861 and
is still producing today. The well once produced as much as 50 barrels
per day but currently produces about 12 barrels a month.
Largest Offshore Oilfield: Measuring 50 kilometers by 15 kilometers,
the Safaniya field in Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest offshore
oilfield. Discovered in 1951, Safaniya is estimated to hold 37 billion
barrels of oil and 151 billion cubic kilometers of gas. That’s
enough oil to fulfill U.S. demand for nearly five years.
Largest Offshore Gasfield: Measuring 9,700 square meters, the South
Pars/North Dome in the Persian Gulf is the world’s largest
offshore gasfield. Straddling the territories of Iran and Qatar
nearly 3,000 meters below the seabed, the field holds 51 trillion
cubic meters of gas.
in History: The blowout and aftermath of the Macondo well, which
the Deepwater Horizon (see above) was drilling, is estimated to
have spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Largest Oil Platform: Weighing in at an amazing 59,500 tons, the
largest oil platform in the world, the Thunder Horse PDQ, was built
as a joint-venture between BP and ExxonMobil. Despite its size,
this picture shows the platform is still susceptible to the elements,
in this case 2005’s Hurricane Dennis.
Largest Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO): ExxonMobil’s
Kizomba A has a storage capacity of 2.2 million barrels of oil making
it the largest in the world. The $800 million structure is currently
in use off of the coast of Angola.
FPSO receives and stores the oil after it is pumped from below the
Smallest FPSO: Sitting off the coast of southeast Australia is Roc
Oil’s FPSO, which has the ability to hold 10,000 barrels per
day of oil.
Frank Holmes is chief
executive officer and chief investment officer of U.S. Global Investors
Inc. The company is a registered investment adviser that manages
approximately $4.8 billion in 13 no-load mutual funds and for other
advisory clients. A Toronto native, he bought a controlling interest
in U.S. Global Investors in 1989, after an accomplished career in
Canada's capital markets. His specialized knowledge gives him expertise
in resource-based industries and money management.