Worldwide discoveries of conventional oil and gas continue to present promising growth, as new finds total to an overall 6.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) in the first half of 2019, according to the mid-year assessment of upstream data by Rystad Energy.
The 1,123 million boe average monthly discovered volumes year-to-date indicate an approximate 35% increase, in comparison to the 827 million boe seen in 2018. Until now, 2019 has been a year of gas discoveries, which hold a majority (63%) share compared to liquids, something that was not seen since 2016.
Majors and integrated national oil companies have been in leading conventional exploration performance, accounting for over 80% share of 2019 discovered volumes. In fact, Rystad Energy analysis has identified 56 global conventional discoveries so far this year, 30 of which are 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.
In Russia, Gazprom announced two big gas discoveries in the Kara Sea off the northwestern part of West Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula – Dinkov and Nyarmeyskoye. These discoveries hold about 1.5 billion boe of recoverable gas resources. Dinkov, the larger of the two fields, holds 1.1 billion boe of resources, making it the largest discovery so far this year.
ExxonMobil’s spate of oil discoveries continue in the Stabroek block, with three major discoveries taking place in 2019: Tilapia, Yellowtail (oil) and Haimara (gas-condensate). These three fields could collectively contain around 800 million boe of recoverable reserves. ExxonMobil’s success rate in the 15 wells drilled so far on the Stabroek block stands at 86%. First oil from the block is expected in mid-2020.
ExxonMobil also made success with the giant Glaucus gas discovery off Cyprus. The discovery is estimated to hold 700 million boe in recoverable resources and is the second major find in Cypriot waters after Eni’s Calypso gas discovery. Eni and partner Total are also planning to begin a five-well drilling program off Cyprus later this year.
Total’s Brulpadda wildcat completed in February in Block 11B/12B made a large gas-condensate discovery in the Lower Cretaceous Post-rift Paddavissie Fairway in South African deep water. Total and partners in the block reported that the discovery could include a billion barrels or more. Results from PVT analysis and technical validation are still being analyzed in order to confirm the resource size.
Rystad Energy currently estimates the discovery resource size to be between 500 million and 600 million boe. Four more prospects – Luiperd, Platanna, Woudboom and Blassop – have all been de-risked within the fairway and a multi-well drilling campaign targeting oil in the eastern side of the fairway is expected to begin on the block in the start of 2020. The campaign could be conducted 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 over 500 million boe, might be spud next.
Finally, Thailand’s national energy company PTTEP made a major offshore gas discovery with the Lang Lebah-1RDR2 exploration well in SK410B license in Malaysian waters. Rystad Energy estimates the discovery to be between 2 trillion and 2.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas. The discovery is considered as the largest discovery ever made by PTTEP as operator and aligns with its strategy to expand its footprint in the area.