About 70% of the global Expex is directed to offshore
drilling, split relatively evenly among shelf, deepwater, and
A lack of exploration capex could represent a threat to
the discovered volumes in the coming years as it adds fuel
to the vicious circle. In the past couple of years, the total
discovered volumes were at all-time low levels, which lead
to disappointment and an unwillingness to invest in exploration by operators. The operators revised down Expex budgets downward, resulting in fewer exploration wells to be
drilled, which will eventually lead to even lower discovered
resources in the near future. The impact of these “missing
volumes” will not be immediate, as discoveries have a relatively long lead-time. It could take roughly 5-10 years for a
discovery to come on-stream, depending on the discovery’s
location (onshore or offshore), its size, water depth, required
facility, and proximity to infrastructure, among other
On the positive side, however, there are still numerous
prospects that could hold billions of boe that are expected
to be drilled in the near future. An overview of these prospects
is shown in Figure 4.
F4: PROSPECTS THAT COULD HOLD BILLIONS OF BOE
Well / Prospect Predrill resources (MMboe) Country Operator Status Spud quarter
Ayame- 1 241
Focus for company: After Ophir farmed-in into Block
Cl-513, it plans to drill high graded upper Cretaceous
Large prospective resources: The Irish oil company has
contracted Stena International’s IceMAX drill-ship with
one firm well and an option to add a second well.
Play opening: Statoil plans to drill Korpfjell prospect,
which lies in the former disputed Central Barents Sea.
This structure is around 39 km from Russian and 415 k
m from Norwegian mainland.
Gemini Nord 250
Focus for company and emerging basin: Gemini Nord
is located in the Hoop area, south of Atlantis discovery
and around 30 km North east of Hansen and Wisting
Play opening: Very little exploration has happened in
the Liberia basin, here Fatala- 1 well, if successful will
be play opener. 2017 Q2
Large prospective resources: “Klymene” prospect
which is located in the Kul-Bas Exploration and
Production Contract is a four-way closure with bright
spots. It is located to the west of Akkulka Exploration
Focus for company: The Halcon prospect in the Philippines is currently the strongest candidate for the next
exploration well in the block SC 56.
North El Mahala 500
Large prospective resources: Total will begin drilling in
block 2 in onshore Egypt, which is managed in a 50/50
partnership with BP.
Zama- 1 500
Focus for company: This well is targeting a three-way
dip structure sealed against a salt feature into the
Source: Rystad Energy ECube; Rystad Energy research and analysis
According to our analyses, there are some 1. 4 trillion boe
of undiscovered conventional resources globally. The key to
unlocking these resources lies in continuous exploration and
appraising activities by the E&P industry. Otherwise, we may
witness the global conventional oil and gas supply start to
decline post 2027.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sona Mlada is a senior analyst at Rystad Energy.
Her main responsibility is the analysis of upstream E&P activities in North America, with a
specific focus on shale asset modeling. She is the
project manager for the monthly North American
Shale Report, published by Rystad Energy. In
addition, she is responsible for analyzing the global discoveries and estimating the recoverable resources. Sona holds
a degree from the University of Economics in Bratislava,
Slovakia, including a graduate exchange program at Univer-sidad de Granada, Spain.