As I look back at the key events in energy during 2009, I'm struck by one particular trend, which likely will have a major impact on the oil and gas industry for years to come.
The trend involved the success of the industry's companies drilling for oil and gas in the deepwater areas of Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, and West Africa. The three locations comprise what is known as the Golden Triangle, and their impact on energy worldwide is just getting started.
Probably the deepwater area that's received the most attention during the past year is the Santos Basin of Brazil, where Petrobras
Expectations continue to hold that Tupi probably contains up to 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Petrobras has just announced that it'll hasten the progress of a pilot development project in the Tupi field.
But don't sell the Gulf of Mexico short. During the first 11 months of the year it was the site of a dozen discoveries made in no less than 1,000 feet of water. Finds were made by such companies as BP
In February, Chevron, drilling in about 7,000 feet of water, made its Buckskin discovery but also encountered a string of dry holes. Then, in September, BP discovered the Tiber field after drilling the deepest well ever. There are those who believe that, as the new wells begin to produce, the Gulf's total deepwater output could reach 2 million barrels per day in two years, up from 1.3 million barrels in 2008.
And then there's West Africa, which consists of several parts, including Nigeria, Angola, and a potentially huge formation that may stretch the 700 miles from Sierra Leone to Ghana. Numerous companies, including Anadarko
How should you play this major trend? While all the companies named have their strengths, I'm inclined to dip into the shares of BP, which continues to find oil just about everywhere.