06:29 GMT10 April 2020
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    The controversial fracking oil extraction technique could breathe new life into abandoned oilfields outside North America, estimated to hold almost 140 billion barrels of oil, new research has indicated.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) A study of global untapped oil wealth, published by the US-based IHS research firm on Wednesday, shows that Russia, China, Iran and Mexico are the four countries that would benefit the most from such new extraction methods as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

    Of the estimated 141 billion barrels, 135 billion would require fracking technologies, according to the study. Two-thirds of the potential oil volumes are concentrated in the Middle East and Latin America, while the rest is distributed relatively evenly across the world.

    "…We were quite surprised at the impressive potential for increased recovery using these unconventional techniques," Susan Farrell, vice-president of IHS energy research and one of the authors in the study, said in a press release.

    Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique that uses high-pressure injections of water, sand and toxic chemicals to extract oil and natural gas from underground shale formations. It has been a point of contention for energy companies and ecologists due to related air, ground and water pollution.


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