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Vitor Abreu, owner of the U.S.-based geoscience research company Act-Geo, speaks during a press conference in Sejong, Friday. Yonhap

There is a high probability that up to an equivalent of 14 billion barrels of crude oil and natural gas is present in a deposit off the coast of the southeastern city of Pohang, according to Vitor Abreu, owner of the U.S.-based geoscience research company Act-Geo, Friday.

He said the exploration success rate is about 20 percent, which is higher compared to that of the Guyana oil field in South America, responding to doubts about the feasibility of the oil reserve that arose after President Yoon Suk Yeol announced it on June 3.

“To summarize, the Ulleung Basin (an oceanic basin in the East Sea near Ulleung Island) is highly prospective. It has the presence of all the key main elements,” Abreu, owner and an advisor of Act-Geo, said in a press conference in Sejong.

The Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC) established a mid-to-long-term exploration plan for the domestic continental shelf in October 2022 as part of its oil exploration in the East Sea. After assessing the possibility of the presence of oil in the deep-sea areas in the East Sea, KNOC received evaluations of the presence possibility in seven large promising structures through Act-Geo.

Based on that possibility, Yoon announced that there is a high probability of up to 14 billion barrels of oil and gas buried in Yeongil Bay, off the coast of Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province. This led to Abreu visiting Korea to further explain this.

The development of oil and gas fields consists of geophysical surveys, exploration drilling and commercial development. Yoon said that the 토토 government would start exploratory drilling by the end of this year, and the results of the exploration are expected in the first half of next year.

The Act-Geo owner said that the potential oil and gas fields in Korea have similar structures, types and related factors to those of the oil fields in Guyana, South America, adding that Korea’s exploration success rate is higher than that of Guyana’s.

“In the prospective rate to drill, 20 percent is very good. Just for comparison, the largest discovery in the world in the last 20 years or 25 years, is the Liza prospect in Guyana. I participated in that as well when I was working for Exxon Mobil, and the Liza was 16 percent,” he said.

The oil exploration expert added that in order to forecast whether oil is actually there, four criteria need to be met: source rock, reservoir rock, cap rock and trap. And confirmed that such factors are present in the depths of the East Sea.

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