Natural gas and oil discoveries around the world have continued to show promising growth this year, with new finds totaling 6.7 billion boe through June, according to an assessment by Rystad Energy.
The 1,123 million boe average monthly of discovered volumes year-to-date reflect a 35% uplift compared with the 827 million boe seen in 2018. This year has been “a year of gas discoveries, which hold a majority (63%) share compared to liquids, a phenomenon not seen since 2016,” the researchers said.
Discoveries offshore have been led by Russia, followed by Guyana, Cyprus, South Africa and Malaysia. The new reserves have propelled what already has been a successful year for international exploration companies, said senior analyst Rohit Patel.
“With deepwater finds contributing half of the discovered volumes, it can be inferred that high-risk frontier plays in the deepwater are back on the map for explorers.”
Majors and the integrated operators, which share a “high-risk appetite and successes in frontier regions,” to date have dominated conventional exploration and accounted for more than 80% of the discovered volumes.
By far the offshore finds have dominated, with 30 of the 56 global conventional discoveries between January and June, Rystad noted.
Russia’s Gazprom has had two big natural gas discoveries in the Kara Sea off the northwestern part of West Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula — Dinkov and Nyarmeyskoye.
“Together, these discoveries hold nearly 1.5 billion boe of recoverable gas resources,” according to Rystad. “Dinkov, the larger of the two fields, holds 1.1 billion boe of resources, making it the largest discovery so far this year.”
In Guyana, ExxonMobil Corp.’s spate of oil discoveries has continued in the Stabroek block, with three major discoveries so far in 2019, Tilapia, Yellowtail (oil) and Haimara (natural gas condensate). The three fields collectively may hold almost 800 million boe of recoverable reserves.
“ExxonMobil’s success rate in the 15 wells drilled so far on the Stabroek block stands at an impressive 86%. First oil from the block is expected in mid-2020,” analysts said.
ExxonMobil also has made headlines in the Mediterranean Sea, with giant Glaucus gas discovery off Cyprus, a discovery estimated to hold 700 million boe in recoverable resources. It was the second major find in Cypriot waters after Eni SpA’s Calypso gas discovery of a similar resource size.
In South Africa’s deepwater, Total SA’s Brulpadda wildcat completed in February made a large gas condensate discovery in the Lower Cretaceous Post-rift Paddavissie Fairway that could hold 1 billion boe or more.
Four additional prospects in South Africa — Luiperd, Platanna, Woudboom and Blassop — have been de-risked within the fairway and a multi-well drilling campaign targeting oil in the eastern side of the fairway is expected to commence on the block in early 2020. The campaign might be carried out in stages as the operational window in the area is limited to December to March. The Luiperd prospect, with a pre-drill resource estimate of more than 500 million boe, might be spud next.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s national energy company PTT Exploration and Production Public Co. Ltd. (PTTEP) unveiled a major offshore discovery in Malaysian waters with the Lang Lebah-1RDR2 exploration well, which may hold 2-2.5 Tcf of gas. The discovery is believed to be the largest discovery ever made by PTTEP as operator.
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