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Climate change imperils world's oil and gas reserves: research

·1-min read

By Noah Browning

LONDON (Reuters) - Much of the world's reserves of oil and gas is under threat from rising tides, storms, floods and extreme temperatures caused by climate change, risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft said on Thursday.

Access to the equivalent of 600 billion barrels or 40% of the world's recoverable oil and gas reserves could be affected by the wild weather, with major producers Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Nigeria among the most vulnerable, the UK-based firm wrote in a research note.

Climate change confronted the industry this year when extreme cold weather pummelled the main U.S. oil, gas and refining hub on the Gulf Coast, leading to long outages and reduced output.

"These types of events are going to become more frequent and more extreme, creating even greater shocks within the industry," said Rory Clisby, environmental analyst at Verisk Maplecroft.

(Graphic: Global oil and gas reserves threatened by climate change - https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/egvbkoebzpq/climaterisk.PNG)

Just over 10% of the world's commercially recoverable reserves are in areas rated by the consultancy as extreme risk, while nearly a third were deemed high risk.

For Saudi Arabia, extreme heat, water shortages and dust storms could be the "Achilles’ heel" for the top oil exporter, the researchers found.

In Africa's number two exporter Nigeria, where reserves are concentrated around the Niger Delta river system, droughts and flooding present threats, they added.

(Reporting By Noah Browning; Editing by Pravin Char)

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