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Global exploration trends

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Report summary

The Global exploration trends report analyses high-level global trends in conventional exploration over 2007-2016. The cost of exploration is compared with the value of new field discoveries made. Trends in the exploration industry have made it a tough place to operate in recent years, although the sector has consistently delivered robust oil and gas volumes in new finds, with close to 250 billion boe found. Value and returns, however, have plunged as the collapse in oil prices compounds an already difficult environment for converting resources into commercial reserves.

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Table of contents

Tables and charts

This report includes 27 images and tables including:


  • Exploration and appraisal spend
  • Drilling activity
  • Signature bonus payments by year
  • Total signature bonus payments by country
  • Distribution of giant oil and gas fields
  • Annual discovery cost
  • Development costs by discovery year
  • Discovery plus development costs by discovery year
  • Annual state share of value creation
  • WM Brent Oil Price Assumption
  • Annual value creation
  • Annual full-cycle returns
  • Annual discoveries
  • Trends in overall success rates
  • Growth of commercial success rates
  • Change in historical view of value creation


  • Key facts
  • Assumptions
  • Volumes discovered and average discovery size
  • Exploration and appraisal spend and well count
  • Giant discoveries (2007-2010)
  • Giant discoveries (2011-2012)
  • Giant discoveries (2013-2016)
  • Discovery and development costs
  • Discovery plus development costs and government take
  • Value creation and returns
  • Discovery count and success rate

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