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Global exploration trends

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05 June 2019

Global exploration trends

Report summary

The Global exploration trends report analyses high-level global trends in conventional exploration over 2009-2018. The cost of exploration is compared with the value of new field discoveries made. The exploration industry has faced a perfect storm of unfavourable circumstances over the last five years. Despite this, it has delivered robust oil and gas volumes per exploration well in new field discoveries - achieving structural cost reductions with innovative thinking on operations, well designs and data requirements, and ruthlessly re-focused portfolios. Over 250 billion boe of new resource was found over the decade. Exploration has made its long-overdue recovery to making double-digit returns and creating value. Our latest view of exploration results confirms all the hard work to cut costs and commercialise discoveries is bearing fruit. We already see exploration returns of 13% in 2018, the highest calculated in over a decade.

Table of contents

    • Discovery count and success rate
    • Volumes discovered keeping pace with lower drilling
    • Oil volumes bounced back in 2017
    • Average discovery size is positive but commercial volumes falling
  • Discovery and development costs
  • Oil and gas prices
    • Disposals are a successful explorer's hidden value creator
    • Upside in recent exploration results
    • Exploration performance is subject to constant revisions
  • Fundamental principles
  • Exploration spend

Tables and charts

This report includes 33 images and tables including:

  • Exploration and appraisal spend
  • Drilling activity
  • Exploration and appraisal spend and well count
  • Signature bonus payments by year
  • Total signature bonus payments by country
  • Discovery and development costs
  • Discovery plus development costs and government take
  • 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
  • Value creation and returns
  • Annual discoveries
  • Trends in overall success rates
  • Discovery count and success rate
  • Volumes discovered by hydrocarbon type
  • Volumes discovered by commerciality
  • Volumes discovered and average discovery size
  • Average discovery size
  • Average volume discovered per exploration well
  • Number of giant and large discoveries
  • Volumes in giant and non-giant discoveries
  • Distribution of giant oil and gas fields
  • Giant discoveries (2009-2011)
  • Giant discoveries (2012-2014)
  • Giant discoveries (2015-2018)
  • Growth of commercial success rates
  • Change in historical view of value creation
  • Annual change in 'current' view of value creation
  • Annual change 'current' view of full-cycle returns

What's included

This report contains:

  • Document

    Global Exploration Trends.xls

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    Global exploration trends

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