- A new report from Westwood Global Energy Group shows better oil and gas exploration performance in 2017 than 2016 with discovered volumes, success rates and finding costs all improving.
- High impact oil & gas exploration remains challenged, however, with activity levels still low and no new frontier play opening discoveries announced.
- From the >60 high-impact wells drilled in 2017 (down 55% on 2014), Westwood has highlighted ten potentially commercial discoveries with volume estimates >100mmboe.
(Aberdeen, UK) – a new report from Westwood Global Energy Group (Westwood), the energy market research consultancy, has highlighted ten potentially commercial discoveries in 2017 considered likely to be >100 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe). This was comparable to 2016 (11) but significantly lower than 2015 (21) and 2014 (32).
• Yakaar, MSGBC Basin, Senegal
• Payara, Turbot & Snoek, Suriname-Guyana Basin, Guyana
• Horseshoe, Colville Basin, USA
• Zama, Salina Basin, Mexico
• Whale, Gulf of Mexico, USA
• Muruk, Papuan Basin, PNG
• Eridu, Arabian Basin, Iraq
• Ixachi, Veracruz Basin, Mexico
Further to this, Eni also had substantial success at its exploration/appraisal campaign on the AMT (Amoca, Mizton & Tecoalli) fields in the Salina Basin, offshore Mexico. The dual objective wells upgraded resource estimates for the discoveries substantially.
The report also highlights 12 high profile “misses” – wells that did not deliver, with wider significance for the industry. Many of these wells were frontier play tests – some testing frontier basins (such as Druid in the Porcupine Basin, Ireland) and some were attempting to open new plays in proven basins (such as Korpfjell in the Barents Sea, Norway). As in 2016, frontier drilling saw a dearth of successes in 2017, with no clear commercial standalone discoveries.
On a more positive note, drilling finding costs were much improved in 2017, falling to ~$0.5/boe, around half of the ~$1.1/boe recorded in 2016. This is due to just a few large discoveries highlighted, combined with a reduction in well costs.
Dr Keith Myers, President, Westwood Research, comments: “While our top ten discoveries may have contributed significantly to decreased finding costs and increased average discovery sizes, they should not mask the challenges, particularly in high impact exploration drilling.
“The lack of any clearly commercial frontier discoveries in 2017 is disappointing. This is the second year without significant frontier success.
“2018 has started better, however, with Exxon's frontier Ranger discovery offshore Guyana potentially opening a new carbonate play in the increasingly prolific Suriname-Guyana Basin. Chevron has recently announced a substantial discovery at Ballymore in the Norphlet play in the Gulf of Mexico, where appraisal is already underway.”
The report has been drawn from Westwood's renowned Wildcat data which includes a global database of over 6,500 wells and 100 appraisal projects.