Report: Most high-impact drilling to take place in Atlantic margin and offshore Asia

Jan. 29, 2024
Rystad said majors bp, Chevron, Eni, Exxon Mobil, Shell and TotalEnergies typically dominate high-impact well drilling, which will continue in 2024.

Offshore staff

OSLO, Norway Rystad Energy has identified 36 potential high-impact wells to be drilled or spud in 2024, the highest annual total since the analyst started tracking the market in 2015. This is an increase from the 27 high-impact wells drilled in 2023.

Of the high-impact wells planned this year, Rystad Energy reports that 14 will be drilled in frontier and emerging basins, with three opening up new plays entirely. 

Many operators continue exploring new plays and focusing on frontier regions, the analyst said. Eight planned high-impact wells target prospective offshore resources of more than 430 MMboe and considerable prospective onshore resources of more than 230 MMboe.

The remaining 11 wells are strategically relevant for their respective operators, meaning exploration success would help them gain traction in the region or inform future operational decisions. If all planned wells proceed as scheduled, 2024 would see the highest number of high-impact wells drilled in at least 10 years.

Rystad said majors bp, Chevron, Eni, Exxon Mobil, Shell and TotalEnergies typically dominate high-impact well drilling, which will continue in 2024. About 16 (44%) of the total wells planned will be drilled by these companies:

Most drilling will be undertaken in the Atlantic margin and Asian waters. National oil companies (NOCs) and internationally focused NOCs will account for eight (22%) of this year’s planned wells, with upstream operators responsible for 17% and smaller operators for the remainder, according to Rystad.

About 70% of African wells will be drilled in frontier and emerging basins or will open new plays. Important frontier wells include in the Red Sea offshore Egypt, in the Angoche Basin offshore Mozambique and in the Namibe Basin offshore Angola. 

High-impact drilling in the Americas will be primarily focused on Latin America and dominated by wells that hold significance for each operator’s long-term goals rather than frontier basins. Only two of the 12 wells planned in the Americas are in North America, with one each in the US and Canada. In Latin America, a frontier well planned for offshore Argentina would be the first drilled well in the Argentine Basin. Exxon Mobil also plans to drill a frontier well in the Orphan Basin offshore Canada.

Six high-impact wells are planned in Asia this year, including ultradeepwater offshore drilling in Indonesia and Malaysia, the opening of India’s Andaman Basin and a potentially resource-rich well offshore China.

01.29.2024

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