Asset report

Exploration trends - benchmarking by water depth

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Report summary

This report analyses global trends in conventional exploration by water depth setting over the period 2006-2015. The cost of exploration is compared with the value of new field discoveries made in three key water depth categories: onshore; shelf (offshore wells drilled in less than 400 metres of water); and deepwater (wells drilled in water depths of over 400 metres). Deepwater exploration performed best up to 2011, creating twice the value of onshore. Results from 2012 onwards wiped all those gains away however, as deepwater explorers struggled to convert discovered resource into commercial reserves.

What's included

This report contains

  • Document

    Exploration Trends by water depth.xls

    XLS 855.50 KB

  • Document

    Exploration trends - benchmarking by water depth

    PDF 363.16 KB

  • Document

    Exploration trends - benchmarking by water depth

    ZIP 611.01 KB

Table of contents

Tables and charts

This report includes 24 images and tables including:


  • Exploration and appraisal spend
  • Exploration and appraisal well numbers
  • Annual volumes discovered
  • Average volumes discovered per well
  • Proportion of volumes by commerciality
  • Volume discovered by phase
  • Lead times
  • Annual discovery costs
  • Discovery and expected development costs
  • WM Brent Oil Price Assumption, May 2015 vs May 2016
  • Value creation under three price scenarios
  • Unit development value
  • Annual value creation at the Base price
  • Annual full-cycle returns
  • Annual discoveries
  • Trends in overall success rate
  • Government take


  • Global database
  • Assumptions
  • Exploration and appraisal spend and well count
  • Reserves and resources: Table 1
  • Discovery and development costs
  • Value creation and returns
  • Discovery count and success rate

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