The new gigaprojects
One of the biggest expansions into relatively new territory is that of tar sands. It is estimated that over $100 billion will be invested in Canadian tar sands projects over the next decade. Two of these projects are Petro-Canada's Fort Hills Project($25 billion) and the Chinese/Canadian Northern Lights Project ($4.5 billion).
Many of the biggest projects are to extract natural gas (methane). $11 billion of investment was recently completed for Qatargas II, and China is cooperating with Iran on the $16 billion project to develop the Iranian North Pars field. Woodside Corp.'s $9 billion investment in the Pluto project is expected to eventually top out at over $30 billion. Sakhalin 2 is a $20 billion project of Shell and Gazprom to extract oil and gas from beneath the coast of Sakhalin Island, along the east coast of Russia.
Oil tends to be a bit more dispersed than natural gas, and consequently inidividual oil projects tend to be smaller. But in total, OPEC countries have projects underway or plans for $254 billion worth of oil field development and expansion. The largest projects tend to be pipelines: a proposed pipeline from Siberia to China and the Sea of Japan for $12-$16 billion, Malaysia wants to build a $7 billion pipeline to save oil tankers from the troubles and risks of sailing through the Straits of Malacca, and a $4 billion pipeline is being built between Chad and Cameroon. But other oil-related gigaprojects are in the works. Kuwait is planning a $14 billion monster oil refinery. CONOOC and Shell have agreed to build a $4.3 billion plastics (ethylene and propylene) factory in Guandong Province, China. Investors have ponied up more than $1 billion simply to search for oil in New Zealan's Great South Basin. And oil revenues have allowed Saudi Arabians to dream of building a city from scratch for a cool $26 billion. But topping our list of gigaprojects, the overall cost of developing the Kashagan fields in Kazakhistan is now estimated at $136 billion, which may make it economically unviable.
Meanwhile, there are also numerous offshore oil operations being developed in the $500 million - $2 billion range, with a few such projects (such as the Hebron field off Newfoundland, $5.6 billion) surpassing that range. More on deep sea projects -- now including not just oil, but diamonds and other minerals -- here.