Deepwater leads the way in oil, gas discoveries in 2019: Rystad

16987420315 486b886ffb zGlobal discoveries of conventional oil and gas totalled 6.7bn boe in the first half of 2019, according to Norwegian energy research and consultancy Rystad Energy

The 1,123mn boe average monthly discovered volumes reflect an uplift of approximately 35 per cent compared to the 827mn boe seen in 2018.

So far, 2019 has been a year of gas discoveries, holding a majority (63 per cent) share compared to liquids, a phenomenon not seen since 2016, Rystad stated.

Rohit Patel, a senior analyst at Rystad Energy, said, “Offshore discoveries in Russia, Guyana, Cyprus, South Africa and Malaysia are propelling what is already a very successful year for international E&P companies. With deepwater finds contributing half of the discovered volumes, it can be inferred that high-risk frontier plays in the deepwater are back on the map for explorers.”

The high-risk appetite of majors and NOCs and successes in frontier regions have accounted for more than 80 per cent of 2019 discovered volumes. So far this year, Rystad identified 56 global conventional discoveries, 30 of which were offshore.

In the first half of 2019, Russia was the leader of the pack in terms of total discovered resources, followed by Guyana, Cyprus, South Africa and Malaysia.


Gazprom has had two big gas discoveries in the Kara Sea off the northwestern part of West Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula – Dinkov and Nyarmeyskoye. Together, these discoveries hold almost 1.5bn boe of recoverable gas resources. Dinkov, the larger of the two fields, holds 1.1bn boe of resources, making it the largest discovery so far this year.


In Guyana, ExxonMobil’s spate of oil discoveries continue in the Stabroek block, with three major discoveries reported in 2019 – Tilapia, Yellowtail (oil) and Haimara (gas-condensate). These three fields could collectively hold almost 800mn boe of recoverable reserves. ExxonMobil’s success rate in the 15 wells drilled so far on the Stabroek block stands at 86 per cent. First oil from the block is expected in mid-2020.


ExxonMobil also made headlines in the Mediterranean Sea, with the giant Glaucus gas discovery off Cyprus. The discovery is estimated to hold 700mn boe in recoverable resources and is the second major find in Cypriot waters after Eni’s Calypso gas discovery, which has a similar resource size.

South Africa

Total’s Brulpadda wildcat completed in February made a large gas-condensate discovery in the Lower Cretaceous Post-rift Paddavissie Fairway in South African deep water that could hold a billion barrels or more.

Rystad estimates the discovery resource size at between 500mn and 600mn boe. Four additional prospects – Luiperd, Platanna, Woudboom and Blassop – have been de-risked within the fairway and a multi-well drilling campaign targeting oil in the eastern side of the fairway is expected to commence on the block in early 2020. The campaign might be carried out in stages as the operational window in the area is limited to December to March. The Luiperd prospect, with a pre-drill resource estimate of more than 500 million boe, might be spud next.


Thailand’s national energy company PTT Exploration and Production Public Co. Ltd. (PTTEP) unveiled a major offshore gas discovery with the Lang Lebah-1RDR2 exploration well, which could hold two trillion and 2.5 tcf of gas. The discovery is believed to be the largest discovery ever made by PTTEP as an operator.

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