A decade of data
It's been ten years since we started our Annual Exploration Survey, and the landscape in 2018 looks markedly different. Whereas ten years ago, access to quality opportunities, rigs and manpower were the main challenges faced by the industry, in 2018 budget sits firmly at the top of the list and rig availability worries languish at the bottom.
The general story for this year is one of positivity. Exploration had a great year in 2017, with at least 12 bnboe found, much of it oil. Our survey points to this success continuing, as players plan to increase exploration drilling and acreage capture in 2018.
And while budget constraints remain the key challenge for all except NOCs, the last few years have taught the industry to do less with more, and so the trend continues. So while there's been an end to the sweeping cuts of previous years, budgets are still being kept in check as explorers start to thrive in what seems to have become a 'lower forever' economy.
Interestingly, when we compare the 2018 breakdown of exploration spend by activity, this year is far more similar to 2008 than 2017. The industry is finally beginning to rein in its 'General and administration' spend, and although not quite at 2008 levels, it's edging that way.