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5 Pages

Exploration trends - benchmarking by region

Exploration trends - benchmarking by region

Report summary

This report details regional trends in conventional exploration from 2007-2016. We analyse exploration performance across eight regions: Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, North Africa, Sub-Sahara Africa, Russia & Caspian and Middle East.

Global exploration investment fell to just US$42 billion in 2016, half that of 2014 levels. In the face of collapsing oil prices, companies slashed budgets. Regions characterised by a large proportion of deepwater, frontier opportunities were hardest hit – the Middle East, following by North Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa, saw the biggest falls in spending.

Our ten-year view shows a bleak picture in terms of value created thanks to the fall in global commodity prices. Only two of our eight regions achieved positive full-cycle value creation over the decade - Middle East and North Africa.

Sub-Sahara Africa added more than 50 bnboe of conventional volume over the decade, following the opening of the East Africa gas province. 

What's included?

This report includes 3 file(s)

  • Exploration trends - benchmarking by region PDF - 506.22 KB 5 Pages, 3 Tables, 1 Figures
  • Exploration Trends by region.xls XLS - 777.50 KB
  • Exploration trends benchmarking by region.pdf PDF - 2.35 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
    • Key trends
      • Scope of report
        • Regional basin groupings
      • Key messages
      • Exploration investment and activity
        • Exploration and appraisal spend
        • Average spend per well
        • Drilling by region
        • Discoveries and success rates
      • Reserves and resources
        • Total volumes discovered (by commerciality)
        • Number of giant discoveries (> 500 mmboe) discoveries
        • What does the average discovery in each region look like?
      • Discovery and development costs
        • Discovery and development costs
        • Lead times from discovery to development
      • Economic assumptions
        • Brent oil price assumptions
        • Economic analysis
        • Ten year full-cycle value creation at Base price (2007-2016)
        • Five year full-cycle value creation trend
        • Full-cycle returns

In this report there are 4 tables or charts, including:

  • Key facts
    • Key facts - global summary
    • Assumptions
  • Summary and key issues
    • Key facts by region
    • Summary and key issues: Image 1
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