Rystad: 2019 could be best year for oil & gas discoveries since 2014 downturn

If the rest of 2019 continues at the same pace of discoveries as the first quarter, the year will exceed 2018’s discovered resources by 30%, according to energy intelligence group Rystad Energy.

Stena Carron drillship which made two discoveries for Exxon earlier this year; Author: Ronnie Robertson
Stena Carron drillship which made two discoveries for Exxon earlier this year; Author: Ronnie Robertson

Rystad said on Monday that global discoveries of conventional resources in the first quarter reached a robust 3.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

Most of the gains were recorded in February, posting 2.2 billion barrels of discovered resources which, according to Rystad, was the best monthly tally on record since August 2015.

Taiyab Zain Shariff, upstream analyst at Rystad Energy, said: “If the rest of 2019 continues at a similar pace, this year will be on track to exceed last year’s discovered resources by 30%.”

Rystad added that oil majors are leading the charge in exploration with more than 2.4 billion boe of discovered resources reported. The six largest discoveries by the majors each exceed 150 million boe, and the top three could even hold more than 300 million boe each.

“ExxonMobil was the most successful, with three significant offshore discoveries accounting for a whopping 38% of total discovered volumes,” Rystad said. Rystad has placed Exxon’s recent Glaucus discovery offshore Cyprus at the top of the top 15 conventional discoveries list for the first quarter of the year, followed by Total’s Brulpadda discovery in South Africa.

“European majors Total and Eni are also in the fold with successful offshore wells in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Angola, and Egypt,” the intelligence firm stated.

As for onshore, Repsol’s operated Kali Berau Dalam gas find in Indonesia takes the moniker of top discovery of the quarter.

Rystad also said that, from a global perspective, the push for substantial new discoveries shows no signs of slowing down, with another 35 high impact exploration wells expected to be drilled this year, both onshore and offshore.

Three such highly prospective wells are already underway – the Shell-operated Peroba well off Brazil with pre-drill prospective resource estimates of 5.3 billion boe, Eni’s Kekra well in Pakistani waters with pre-drill prospective resource estimates of 1.5 billion boe, and the Total-operated Etzil well off Mexico with pre-drill prospective resource estimates of 2.7 billion boe.

“If these wells prove successful, 2019’s interim discovered resources will be the largest since the downturn in 2014,” Shariff added.

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