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Total oil and gas exploration summary

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Report summary

Total has a geographically diverse exploration portfolio. It has a large exposure to deepwater, particularly in West Africa, and a portfolio that ranks second only to Shell amongst the Majors. Total’s exploration performance has lagged behind that of its peers and its strategy is now to balance material volume additions through high-impact exploration, with lower-risk drilling. It will invest 25% of its annual exploration budget on frontier prospects, a further 25% in near-field exploration around existing discoveries, and the remaining 50% focused on core and emerging basins. This report analyses Total’s recent conventional and unconventional exploration performance, and reviews its strategy for future success. It is one of a series reports which evaluates and benchmarks the exploration results of the top 40 exploration companies. It includes analysis of discovered volume, full-cycle value creation and returns, and is accompanied by a detailed excel download.

What's included

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    Total oil and gas exploration summary

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Table of contents

    • Basins drilled and all conventional & organic unconventional discoveries 2007-2016
    • Ten year performance summary
    • Upstream strategy
    • Exploration strategy
    • Evolution of exploration strategy
  • Investment and costs
    • Well data
  • Reserves and resources
    • Production from new field discoveries and organic unconventionals, and as a proportion of all future production
    • Highly diverse portfolio, hard hit by falling oil prices
    • Higher-risk strategy in reaction to low success
    • International unconventionals delivers some value
    • Lower 48 organic unconventionals position stymied by low oil prices

Tables and charts

This report includes 24 images and tables including:


  • Exploration & appraisal spend and reinvestment
  • Exploration & appraisal spend by water depth
  • Exploration & appraisal spend by basin maturity
  • Discovery costs by water depth
  • Volumes discovered by year
  • Volumes discovered by water depth
  • Volumes discovered by country
  • Volumes discovered by basin
  • Executive summary: Image 1
  • Net active exploration acreage by water depth
  • Net active exploration acreage by country
  • Exploration wells drilled and spend per well
  • Exploration success rates
  • Production: Image 1
  • Full cycle value creation by year, incl. unconventionals
  • Exploration returns by by year, incl. unconventionals
  • Costs and development value by reserve category
  • Exploration returns by water depth


  • Top 40 discoveries (2007 to 2016)
  • Key organic unconventional plays
  • Full-cycle economics
  • Executive summary: Table 1
  • SWOT Grid
  • Gross exploration & appraisal wells by basin and sector

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