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PETRONAS oil and gas exploration summary

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Report summary

PETRONAS' Malaysian portfolio is the back-bone of its exploration, attracting around 2/3rds of wells and spend. In light of a lower exploration budget, the domestic portfolio is more central. In the near-term, it will prioritise infrastructure-led exploration and appraisal. It will increasingly choose to commit to domestic exploration whilst offering incentives to encourage IOCs. PETRONAS has a diverse international portfolio. It has done business in areas often shunned by western companies, taking advantage of cultural links and governmental relations. Exploration will need to play a pivotal role if PETRONAS is to grow a sustainable international portfolio. It has been successful in deep and shallow water rounds in Mexico. Building on the 2017 commercialisation of La Amarga Chica in the Vaca Muerta, it committed to extra spend in Argentina. Combined with a lower-risk exploration campaign focused nearer to home, this could set it up for a period of improved exploration performance.

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Table of contents

  • Executive summary
    • Upstream strategy
    • Evolution of exploration strategy
  • Investment and costs
    • Well data
    • Scope of this report
    • Production from new field discoveries and organic unconventionals, and as a proportion of all future production
    • Lack of commercial success impacts value
    • Onshore African oil maturing and struggling
    • PETRONAS has struggled to build critical mass beyond Sub Saharan Africa and Asia

Tables and charts

This report includes 25 images and tables including:


  • Basins drilled and all conventional & organic unconventional discoveries 2007-2016
  • Exploration & appraisal spend and reinvestment
  • Exploration & appraisal spend by water depth
  • Exploration & appraisal spend by basin maturity
  • Discovery costs by water depth
  • Net active exploration acreage by water depth
  • Net active exploration acreage, excl. Malaysia
  • Exploration wells drilled and spend per well
  • Reserves and resources: Image 1
  • Reserves and resources: Image 2
  • Volumes discovered by country
  • Volumes discovered by basin
  • Volumes discovered by country (excluding Malaysia)
  • Volumes discovered by basin (excluding Malaysia)
  • Production: Image 1
  • Valuation: Image 1
  • Valuation: Image 2
  • Full cycle value creation - Malaysia vs International
  • Costs and development value by reserve category
  • Exploration returns by water depth


  • Ten year performance summary
  • Full-cycle economics
  • SWOT grid
  • Gross exploration & appraisal wells by basin and sector (2007-2016)
  • Top 40 discoveries (2007 to 2016)

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