2024 outlook

Subsurface predictions: what to watch in exploration and discovered resources in 2024

The hunt for advantage intensifies in 2024, and a subsurface divergence takes shape as high-impact wildcatting focuses on oil, while gas gains ground in discovered resource progression

In this complimentary series:

  • Global exploration: 4 things to look for in 2024
  • Discovered resources: 3 things to look for in 2024

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Michael Egbuna

Research Analyst, Subsurface

Michael focuses on developing discovered resource intelligence and insights.

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What are the key topics and trends for exploration and discovered resources in 2024? Expect a subsurface split as high-impact exploration focuses on oil, while gas gains ground in discovered resource progression.

Drawing on insight from Lens Subsurface, our experts share their take on this divergence – and more predictions for the year ahead – in two complimentary reports.

Exploration: high-impact wildcatting focuses on oil

Big, high-impact, exploration is going to focus on oil in 2024. Companies are taking advantage of the relative certainty in near-term demand and looking to new oil hubs in countries that continue to be supportive of hydrocarbon developments.

In 2024, we expect around 70% of prospective volumes in large/giant and play opening exploration wells will be liquids.

Read Global exploration: 4 things to look for in 2024 for our view of the key frontier plays to watch in 2024. Plus: a look at deepwater exploration by private companies, formal license rounds and the appetite for acreage, and next-generation geothermal technologies.

Discovered resources: gas will gain ground

By contrast, as the hunt for advantage in discovered resource progression intensifies, key appraisal wells and new production will be dominated by gas.

Oil has been the preference of the industry’s biggest players due to its higher returns relative to gas, the more sustainable hydrocarbon phase from the perspective of scope 3 emissions. In 2024, produced gas volumes overtake those of oil for fields coming onstream in the year.

Some 3 million boe/d of new supply is coming from new fields starting up in 2024 across 50 countries. Gas will make up over 60% of these new volumes, with most production coming from Russia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. More than half the appraisal drilling in 2024 will target gas.

Read Discovered resources: 3 things to look for in 2024 for an examination of the drivers behind this dichotomy. Plus, a look at deepwater drilling trends, and the increasingly important role of energy super basins.

Subsurface: an exploration of the year ahead

Our subsurface reports detail our predictions for the year ahead, across exploration and discovered resources.

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