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Drilling Down Down Under

With a tip of the hat to Glenn, here's the latest hugenormous shale oil find:

SOUTH Australia is sitting on oil potentially worth more than $20 trillion, independent reports claim - enough to turn Australia into a self-sufficient fuel producer.

Brisbane company Linc Energy yesterday released two reports, based on drilling and seismic exploration, estimating the amount of oil in the as yet untapped Arckaringa Basin surrounding Coober Pedy ranging from 3.5 billion to 233 billion barrels of oil.

At the higher end, this would be "several times bigger than all of the oil in Australia", Linc managing director Peter Bond said.

This has the potential to turn Australia from an oil importer to an oil exporter.

More news like this, and Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf/OPEC states might find themselves in a double bind. Shale oil is more difficult and expensive to drill, but we'll be using more of it -- especially if "easy" oil production begins to wane. One expects, eventually, even the Saudis will have to start digging around for shale.

But where are the best minds in the oil business going to want to work? In Australia, where the beer is legal (and good) and the women are uncovered (and friendly)? Or in Saudi, where the beer is banned and the women are covered?

It's kind of a no-brainer. Which is exactly what the Saudis might be faced with, just when they need brains the most.