Gas Discoveries Beat Oil in 2019: Westwood
High-impact exploration drilling activity rose sharply in the first half of 2019 with 51 exploration wells completed, compared with 36 in the same period in 2018, according to research published August 12 by Westwood Energy. And gas discoveries rose while oil discoveries fell.
The commercial success rate has also improved significantly, running at 37% so far compared with about 27% in 2017 and 2018.
Of the 16 discoveries estimated to be larger than 100mn barrels of oil equivalent in the first half of the year, the biggest were gas. Dinkov has an estimated 14 trillion ft³ and Nyarmeyskoe 4.3 trillion ft³ in the Kara Sea offshore Russia; and Glaucus has ab estimated 4.5 trillion ft³ offshore Cyprus.
Only one of the 18 frontier play tests completed is a potential commercial play opener: the Brulpadda-1AX well offshore South Africa, again a gas find. High-impact success was also seen in maturing/mature plays, including Eni’s prolific Block 15/06 offshore Angola (Agidigbo and Agogo) and at China National Offshore Oil Corp's Glengorm discovery in the central North Sea.
Westwood projects that by year-end there will be a further 35-40 high-impact exploration wells, resulting in more than 85 for the year, or about 35% more than last year, totalling some 10bn barrels of oil equivalent. Drilling in maturing and mature plays is expected to drive the increase in the well count with the frontier program expected to remain roughly inline with 2018, at around 32 frontier wells.
Northwest Europe is expected to have a busy year for exploration with at least a further seven high-impact wells expected, in addition to the 17 completed in the first half of the year. But high-impact success there has been limited, with only Glengorm estimated to be more than 100mn boe.