Exploration drilling pick-up could bring big rewards

Feb. 19, 2019
Various offshore exploration wells planned this year could lead to ‘elephant’ finds, according to consultant Rystad Energy.

Offshore staff

OSLO, Norway – Various offshore exploration wells planned this year could lead to ‘elephant’ finds, according to consultant Rystad Energy.

“Renewed optimism in exploration activities is anticipated in 2019, with operators from various segments aiming for multiple high-impact campaigns…in essentially all corners of the world,” said senior analyst Rohit Patel.

“These include wells targeting large prospects, play openers, wells in frontier and emerging basins, and operator communicated high impact wells.”

Rystad’s new High Impact Wells Report lists the top wildcats to watch over the coming year.

Offshore Papua New Guinea, the Mailu-1 well will target a giant carbonate oil prospect which if successful, could open a new ultra-deep offshore play.

Eni’s Kekra-1 well is Pakistan’s first ultra-deepwater well in over a decade (potentially 1.5 Bbbl).

Dana Gas plans to make its debut as an offshore operator in the deepwater Egyptian sector of the Mediterranean with theMerak well.

Off Morocco, Chariot Oil & Gas’ Moh-B well will test a prospect that could hold 637 MMboe.

The Central Tano-1 well offshore Ghana will target up to 2.3 Bbbl of oil, while offshore Namibia, Total’s well on the Venus prospect will be the deepest anywhere to date offshore Africa, Rystad claimed.

Venus, also considered to be the largest prospect drilled so far off Namibia, is in a giant basin floor fan of the Orange basin.

In the Barents Sea, Lundin could open a new play with its Setter-Pointer exploration well.

West of Shetland, Hurricane Energy is set to drill a deepwater well on a prospect with a pre-drill estimate of 935 MMboe - the company is said to have indicated a 77% chance of success.

The Dunquin South well offshore western Ireland will pursue hydrocarbons in lower Cretaceous carbonate reservoirs in water depths of 1,500 m (4,921 ft). Here the pre-drill estimate is for up to 1.4 Bbbl of oil.

In theGulf of Mexico, Total plans a well on the ultra-deepwater Etzil prospect, which has a 2.7 Bboe pre-drill resource estimate. Offshore French Guiana, the company is set to commit $114 million to drill the Nasua-1 ultra-deepwater well (1 Bboe pre-drill).

Finally, Shell will drill theGato do Mato presalt prospect off Brazil, which the company bid for in the second presalt licensing round in 2017.

“In 2018 we saw that the decline in offshore exploration activity came to an end,” Patel said.

“The total number of offshore exploration wells last year was 325, compared to around 335 in 2017. For 2019 we expect that around 400 offshore exploration wells will be drilled.”