Only 12 Bboe of conventional oil and gas were discovered globally last year, according to Rystad Energy. This is about the same as in 2018 and 2017, but far less than in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Since 2013, 2015 is the best year with 19.5 Bboe discovered.
This is, however, far less than the total world oil and gas production which is roughly 60 Bboe per year. In other words, the oil companies are not able to replace production with new reserves through exploration.
“ExxonMobil can be declared explorer of the year for the second year in a row thanks to its ongoing efforts and results in Guyana, along with significant investments in Cyprus. The supermajor was exceptional, both in terms of discovered volumes and value creation from exploration,” says Palzor Shenga, a senior analyst on Rystad Energy’s upstream team.
Off the coast of Mauritania, BP’s Orca gas field was not only the largest single discovery, but also the deepest-water find of 2019, estimated by Rystad Energy to hold about 1.3 billion boe of recoverable resources. Recent gas discoveries in the region now support plans to build an additional LNG hub in the Bir Allah area in Mauritania.
Norway and UK rank as the 6th (ca. 5% of total production) and the 8th most successful countries for exploration in 2019.
Other key offshore discoveries in 2019 include two discoveries in the Russian Kara Sea, Total’s Brulpadda in South Africa, ExxonMobil’s Glaucus in Cyprus, CNOOC’s Glengorm in the United Kingdom and Equinor’s Sputnik in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea.