, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 17–26 | Cite as

The exploitation of off-shore mineral resources

  • Peter R. Odell


The exploitation of offshore mineral wealth is generally higher cost than from land based developments. Given the availability of adequate resources relative to expected demand, interest in the exploitation of most offshore minerals seems likely to remain minimal. There are two exceptions, viz. first, sands and gravels and second, hydrocarbons. Offshore exploitation of the former is restricted to shallow sea floor deposits close to nearby onshore areas of high demand. Their extraction is a highly localised phenomenon. Offshore hydrocarbons' production had similar locational characteristics as extensions of pre-existing onshore developments. Recently, however, offshore hydrocarbons have been increasingly exploited in their own right: in areas where market opportunities made such higher-cost operations economically and/or geo-politically attractive. The North Sea stands out in significance. Here, development has been highly pro-active, in terms of political, technological and entrepreneurial considerations. This has produced a unique geographical phenomenon in the maritime environment which will continue to be important for two more decades, and be extended to other north-west European offshore locations. What remains to emerge is the strength of its demonstration effect elsewhere, where the combination of the highly favourable circumstances of Western Europe for such intensive offshore hydrocarbons' activities may not reoccur.

exploitation costs geopolitics hydrocarbons North Sea sands/gravels 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter R. Odell
    • 1
  1. 1.Erasmus UniversityIpswichUK

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