The map of the world doesn’t change much.

We know Spain is still tucked between Portugal and France, and Canada remains fixed to the north of the United States.

But, when it comes to new oil and gas discoveries, the map of the world is far from static. Tomorrow’s major energy producer may only be a minor player today, a trend that keeps the global flow of energy spinning like the needle on a compass.

New technology is helping drive this change over a period when the world’s rising living standards and population growth through 2040 are expected to help drive energy demand by about 25 percent, according to the 2018 Outlook for Energy, ExxonMobil’s look at the world’s supply and use of energy.

Breakthroughs in cutting-edge seismic mapping can now target oil and gas fields once overlooked, and new drilling techniques allow for deeper exploration, making previously inaccessible oil and natural gas fields accessible.

The expanding opportunities, from places like Argentina, Mozambique and Papua New Guinea, coincide with demand pressures. Natural gas discoveries will help meet an electricity demand that will rise 60 percent through 2040, the report says.

The most visible domestic example of the new generation of energy producers is at Texas’ Permian Basin, a shale play cracked by technical achievements in horizontal drilling and seismic mapping. That basin today is no longer a startup and is seen as a prolific player on the global stage.

Individually, no one new energy producer is likely to be a game-changer that will alter global supply patterns. But collectively, they represent the new kids on the block who are already reshaping the world’s energy map.


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