The Technology EnigmaOn a global scale, nearly 80% of discoveries are finding less than the estimated P50 volume and around 30% less than the P90.

The Technology Enigma

Exploration efficiency cannot be improved by the use of technology alone, says Graeme Bagley with Westwood Global Energy.

There is no silver bullet, says Graeme Bagley, Head of Global Exploration and Appraisal with Westwood Global Energy.

Therefore, he continues, factors that impact exploration performance include

1) maturity of a play, the fiscal regime,

2) the availability of sufficient data to allow technology to be used successfully, and

3) the way that explorers collaborate, integrate data and technology and manage their biases effectively.

Bagley will give a talk at NCS Exploration 2019 in Oslo May 21-22 entitled “30 Years of Advances in Exploration Technology and Geoscience”.

… despite enormous amounts of 3D

– The annual volume of 3D seismic data acquired in Norway increased by a factor of five between 2004 and 2015. Over the same timeframe, the Technical Success Rate (TSR) has remained at an average of ~58%. Commercial success rates, i.e. the proportion of discoveries made that may be profitable, however, have declined, according to Westwood.

Technology is thus helping the industry maintain its ability to make discoveries, but these are increasing of a size below the commercial threshold.

Finding less than predicted

Data published for exploration discoveries in Norway in 2000 shows that 37% of discoveries were finding less than the pre-drill P90 estimated volume.

– The situation has not improved and is not limited to Norway, Bagley says.

Also, data from Westwood’s Wildcat database of global exploration discoveries shows that nearly 80% of discoveries are finding less than the estimated P50 volume and around 30% less than the P90.

– Technology does not appear to be helping explorers make better predictions of the quantity of hydrocarbons that they are going to find, Bagley concludes.

Westwood also concludes that global data show that the commercial success rate for prospects described as being supported by DHI’s is no different to the success rate for non-DHI supported prospects, whilst the use of “amplitude” or “positive AVO” gives a lower success rate than the average.

NCS Exploration, May 21-22, Oslo, Fornebu, see the programme