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Rystad: Deepwater contributes half of discovered volumes in 1H 2019

Deepwater discoveries are leading the charge with global discoveries of conventional oil and gas continuing to show promising growth, according to Rystad Energy’s mid-year upstream data assessment.

The Norwegian energy research and consultancy said on Thursday that new finds totaled 6.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) in the first half of 2019.

The 1,123 million boe average monthly discovered volumes year-to-date is a 35% uplift compared to the 827 million boe seen in 2018. So far, 2019 has been a year of gas discoveries, which hold a 63% share compared to liquids, something not seen since 2016.

Rohit Patel, senior analyst at Rystad, said: “Offshore discoveries in Russia, Guyana, Cyprus, South Africa, and Malaysia are propelling what is already a very successful year for international E&P companies. 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.”

The high-risk appetite of majors and NOCs and successes in frontier regions have accounted for more than 80% of 2019 discovered volumes. Rystad identified 56 global conventional discoveries so far this year, 30 of which offshore.

In the first half of 2019, Russia was the leader in terms of total discovered resources, followed by Guyana, Cyprus, South Africa, and Malaysia.


Gazprom announced two big gas discoveries in the Kara Sea off the northwestern part of West Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula – Dinkov and Nyarmeyskoye. Together they hold nearly 1.5 billion boe of recoverable gas resources. Dinkov, the larger of the two, holds 1.1 billion boe making it the largest discovery so far this year.


In Guyana, ExxonMobil’s spate of oil discoveries continues in the Stabroek block, with Tilapia, Yellowtail, and Haimara announced in 2019. These three fields could collectively hold almost 800 million boe of recoverable reserves. ExxonMobil’s success rate in the 15 wells drilled so far on the block is an impressive 86% with first oil expected in mid-2020.


ExxonMobil also made headlines in the Mediterranean Sea, notching up its maiden success with the giant Glaucus gas discovery estimated to hold 700 million boe in recoverable resources. It is the second major find in Cypriot waters after Eni’s Calypso gas discovery, which has a similar resource size. ExxonMobil is lining up an appraisal of the discovery in 2020 while Eni and partner Total are planning to a five-well drilling program off Cyprus later this year.

Cyprus has also been a point of contention recently between the European Union and Turkey with the EU preparing to implement sanctions over the country’s drilling operations in contested waters offshore Cyprus. Read more about it here.

South Africa

Total’s Brulpadda wildcat completed in February made a large gas-condensate discovery with a possible billion barrels or more. Results from PVT analysis and technical validation are still being assessed to confirm the resource size.

According to Rystad, current estimates stand between 500 and 600 million boe. Four additional prospects – Luiperd, Platanna, Woudboom, and Blassop – have been de-risked and a drilling campaign is expected to begin 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.


Thailand’s national energy company PTTEP unveiled a major offshore gas discovery with the Lang Lebah-1RDR2 exploration well in SK410B license in Malaysian waters. Rystad Energy estimates the discovery could hold between 2 trillion and 2.5 tcf of gas.

The discovery is believed to be the largest discovery ever made by PTTEP as operator and is in alignment with the company’s strategy to expand its footprint in the region. Woodmac deemed the discovery the ‘world’s 7th largest in 2019.’

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