The ever-growing appetite for fossil fuels and other commodities, coupled with the ongoing depletion of traditional deposits, puts increasing pressure on geological exploration. Innovative technologies are the right tool to address these challenges.
Experts believe that in 1995–2014 global energy consumption increased by 50%. By 2030, this figure is expected to go up by another third, despite the rapid development of energy saving technologies and alternative energy sources. This makes new exploration a key to ensuring further progress.
According to Wood Mackenzie, in 2015, the volume of petroleum exploration dropped to a 70-year low due to the depressed oil prices. The newly discovered oil reserves amounted to a measly 2.7 billion barrels, i.e. about one tenth of the average annual exploration volume. According to BP’s estimates, the global oil reserves had shrunk by 2.4 billion barrels by the end of 2015.
The global demand for other minerals is growing, too. Those include rare earth metals that are the core material for a variety of modern microelectronic components.
The growing demand combined with the depletion of easily available resources has become a new challenge for exploration geologists.
Moving in this direction is impossible without cutting-edge technologies that require both changes in the corporate approaches and significant investments.
The main challenge for the Russian exploration programmes is the insufficient government funding.
The investments from subsoil users are roughly ten times as much.
On the negative side, private funds are primarily spent on quick payback projects with low industrial diversification, whose outcomes often fail to be added to the national geological database.
Moreover, such projects are often bashed by the ecologists for their extensive environmental impacts.
ROSGEO launched the Foresight “Geology of the Future-2050” project seeking to develop a comprehensive approach to exploration development in Russia and assess its relevance going forward. The company is going to present its Geological Exploration Roadmap up to 2050 at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.