Discovered resources of conventional oil and natural gas are seeing an exciting recovery worldwide, already surpassing 4.5 billion BOE in the first half of 2018 according to an analysis by Rystad Energy.
The average monthly discovered volumes YTD are estimated at 826 million BOE, up approximately 30% compared to 625 million BOE in 2017 the analysis shows.
Guyana, the only South American nation in which English is the official language, was the top country in terms of total discovered oil resources in the period under review, followed by the United States, Cyprus, Oman and Norway.
Combined, these five countries hold three-fourths of the total resources discovered this year. The discoveries in Guyana, the United States and Cyprus are located in ultra-deepwater and are 100% owned by oil majors, indicating that oil majors move back into deepwater drilling - defined as water depth greater than 300m- a high-cost and high-risk area.
The most notable discoveries this year include:
ExxonMobil, the world's largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, made three major oil discoveries in the Stabroek block: Ranger, Pacora and Longtail, which together could hold almost 1 billion barrels of oil or more. These finds followed previous major discoveries on the block at Liza, Payara, Snoek and Turbot.
The United States reported oil discoveries at Ballymore and Dover prospects in the Norphlet play in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. California-based Chevron discovered a significant oil play at the Ballymore prospect with its first exploration while the Dover discovery located 13 miles from the Appomattox host was Shell’s sixth discovery in the play. The Norphlet play is characterized by high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) conditions accompanied with complicated and elusive structures.
The biggest offshore discovery to date this year is believed to be the Eni-operated Calypso gas find offshore Cyprus. The discovery well encountered an extended gas column in rocks of Miocene and Cretaceous age, confirming the extension of “Zohr-like” play in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone. Claimed to be the largest gasfield in the Mediterranean, Zohr produced first gas in December last year.
Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) announced a giant gas-condensate discovery at Mabrouk North East prospect in the northern part of its concession area located west of Saih Rawl field.
In the Norwegian Sea, OMV and Wintershall reported significant discoveries in the Aasgard and Aasta Hansteen area respectively, with combined recoverable resources close to 240 million boe. In North Sea, Aker BP and Equinor made two other discoveries which together added 75 million boe.
“An uptick of 30% from the abnormally low levels in 2017 might seem encouraging, but E&P players are currently facing a low reserve replacement ratio, on average of less than 10%. This is worrisome considering the impact on global oil supply in long term,” Espen Erlingsen, Head of Upstream Research at Rystad Energy said.
The discovery trend is expected to continue in the second half of 2018 backed by ongoing exploration in emerging offshore provinces and many promising high-impact wells targeting potential resources in the millions, according to the independent energy consulting services and business intelligence data firm.