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Exploration trends - benchmarking by basin

Exploration trends - benchmarking by basin

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 includes 4 file(s)

  • Exploration trends benchmarking by basin.pdf PDF - 2.85 MB
  • Exploration Trends basin benchmarking.xls XLS - 1.46 MB
  • Exploration trends shapefile instructions.pdf PDF - 97.93 KB
  • Exploration Trends ZIP - 6.58 MB


Oil and gas exploration is an industry in constant motion, from technological breakthroughs to shifting supply and demand. The high costs of finding and developing new oil and gas fields that can be commercially developed has created a challenging atmosphere, with explorers increasingly seeing low returns, low value and slow progress.

This Asset Benchmarking report provides a detailed benchmarking of the oil and gas exploration industry, including drilling results, success rates and the value of each discovery. You'll also find information about discovery and development costs and full-cycle returns.

Exploration businesses and advisors can use this report to decide which regions or sectors are best to explore. Benchmarking at basin level helps with opportunity screening.

Wood Mackenzie has access to historic data for over 450 basins and forecasts for more than 125 basins. We provide accurate information on the cost of exploration compared to the value of discoveries so that you can develop profitable strategies. Our in-depth analysis gives you the information you need to navigate the ever-changing challenges of oil and gas exploration so you can make key commercial decisions.

  • Key facts
  • Summary and key issues
    • Exploration
      • 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
    • Reserves and resources
      • Total volumes by basin and commerciality
      • Volumes discovered versus E&A spend
      • Average discovery size: larger discoveries are generally required to assure commerciality
    • Costs
      • Discovery costs: basins with lowest discovery costs are mostly onshore
    • Economic analysis
      • 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

In this report there are 2 tables or charts, including:

  • Key facts
    • Key facts
  • Summary and key issues
    • Total volumes discovered by basin 2006-2015
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