The traditional offshore producing nations in the Americas are seeing increasing levels of exploration and production activity, while others are introducing lease rounds and incentives to attract new players. Many of these areas are characterized by remote, deepwater environments with reservoir conditions that challenge the design limitations of the drilling and production equipment. Chevron is testing these limits with its Anchor project in the US Gulf of Mexico. Pending FID, the 20-ksi project likely will trigger a new wave of ultra-high-pressure developments. In the meantime, a change in development philosophies is enabling operators to improve the cost and cycle time of projects from discovery to first production. Operators are nurturing this “short cycle” mindset in the US GoM and across the Americas.
In Brazil, new measures implemented over the past three years are expected to boost domestic production. These include opening the presalt to new players, staging bid rounds on a more regular basis, and relaxing local content requirements. Three bid rounds are scheduled for the second half of this year.
Elsewhere, Cuba launched its first license round earlier this year, offering 24 blocks in mid- to deepwater off the north coast in the Cuban Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) of the GoM. Seismic interpretation of the acreage suggests potentially large prospects, with possible analogies to some of the proven deepwater plays off Mexico and US.
Argentina also recently held a lease round – its first offshore in over 20 years. It drew offers from 13 companies, and the winning bids totaled $718.28 million.
Indeed, activity is picking up in other regions as well, but the Americas are setting the pace.