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The Long Road to First Oil

Mihalyi, David (2020): The Long Road to First Oil.

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the factors affecting the speed at which newly discovered oil and gas fields are developed. Using data from over 25,000 oil and gas assets globally I demonstrate that both asset and country characteristics are critical in determining which assets reach production stage. I analyze the effects of countries adopting a set of market oriented reforms, to shed light on the impacts of institutional changes on petroleum extraction timeline.

Mitigating climate change will require a large share of the world's already discovered fossil resources to stay underground. The results of this study can help inform how petroleum producers may respond to the energy transition underway. My findings also calls into question the assumption used in earlier research that giant oil and gas discoveries can be considered exogenous in their impacts on subsequent production.

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