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2021 forecast to be lowest level of global oil and gas discoveries in 75 years

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Global oil and gas discoveries in 2021 look set to hit their lowest level in 75 years, should December fail to yield any significant finds, reports Rystad Energy.

As of the end of November 2021, total global discovered volumes for the year are calculated to be 4.7bn boe, with no major finds announced in December. The industry is on course for its worst discoveries toll since 1946. This would also represent a considerable drop from the 12.5bn boe discovered in 2020.

Liquids make up 66% of the total hydrocarbon mix discovered, with seven new discoveries in November totalling 219mn boe.

‘Although some of the highly ranked prospects are scheduled to be drilled before the end of the year, even a substantial discovery may not be able to contribute towards 2021 discovered volumes as these wells may not be completed in this calendar year. Therefore, the cumulative discovered volume for 2021 is on course to be the lowest in decades,’ says Palzor Shenga, Vice President of upstream research at Rystad Energy.

The largest discovery in November 2021 was Russian group Lukoil’s Yoti West off the coast of Mexico, which is estimated to hold around 75mn boe of recoverable resources. The discovery strengthens Lukoil’s cumulative discovered volumes near this location. However, the volumes are still insufficient for commercial development and would require further discoveries of a comparable scale before a development concept could be drawn up. These discoveries do, however, give hope to Mexico that the country can halt or slow down its production decline, according to Rystad. Several wells are scheduled to be drilled in blocks offered in various bid rounds, many by leading oil companies.

Offshore Malaysia, Nangka-1 became the second successive exploration well drilled within block SK 417. Norway continues to unearth small-to-medium finds, providing production opportunities with available infrastructure.

Figure 1: Global discoveries for 2021 on course to be lowest in decades (in mn boe)
Source: Rystad Energy

News Item details

Journal title: Petroleum Review

Organisation: Rystad Energy AS

Subjects: Oil and gas, Oil, Exploration, Forecasting

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