Westwood highlights exploration hits, misses of 2017


ABERDEEN, UK -- A new report from Westwood Global Energy Group, the energy market research consultancy, has highlighted 10 potentially commercial discoveries in 2017 considered likely to be more than 100 MMboe. This was comparable to 2016 (with 11 discoveries) but significantly lower than 2015 (with 21 discoveries) and 2014 (with 32 discoveries).   

They are: 

• Yakaar, MSGBC Basin, Senegal

• Payara, Turbot & Snoek, Suriname-Guyana Basin, Guyana

• Horseshoe, Colville Basin, U.S.

• Zama, Salina Basin, Mexico

• Whale, Gulf of Mexico, U.S.

• 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 of which were 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 about $0.5/boe, around half of the about $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 more than 6,500 wells and 100 appraisal projects.

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