Asset report

Exploration trends - benchmarking by basin

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Report summary

The Exploration trends - benchmarking by basin report quantifies conventional exploration performance of over 480 basins worldwide for the decade 2006-2015. The cost of exploration is compared with the value of new field discoveries made over the decade. Exploration spend was focused on key basins, predominantly in deepwater. The top 20 basins by E&A investment accounted for 46% of spend but just 26% of wells, since many of the basins include high-cost deepwater sectors. The top 20 basins by volume contributed 60% of the 247 bnboe discovered resources, and they included deepwater basins in the Americas, Africa and Australia, plus Middle East onshore basins. Recent low oil prices have restricted value creation, compounding issues of high costs (which have softened recently) and greater technical and commercial complexity. The highest-value basins were found in deepwater Brazil plus onshore basins in China, Egypt, Iran and Algeria and shallow-water areas in Norway and Malaysia.

What's included

This report contains

Table of contents

  • Key facts
      • Exploration wells drilled and E&A spend by basin
      • Number of wells versus success rate
      • Commercial success rates: low oil prices presenting additional challenges to commerciality
      • Total volumes by basin and commerciality
      • Volumes discovered versus E&A spend
      • Average discovery size: larger discoveries are generally required to assure commerciality
      • Discovery costs: basins with lowest discovery costs are mostly onshore
      • Value creation: giant offshore discoveries and low-cost onshore basins created most value
      • Internal rate of return: onshore basins have higher returns due to short lead times, while gas-prone basins tend to achieve lower returns due to market conditions and prices

Tables and charts

This report includes 2 images and tables including:


  • Total volumes discovered by basin 2006-2015


  • Key facts

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