High-Impact Exploration Up With Most Wells Expected Since 2019

High-Impact Exploration Up With Most Wells Expected Since 2019
Companies drilled 38 high-impact exploration wells in the first half of 2022 and the year is set to finish with most such wells drilled since 2019.

Companies drilled 38 high-impact exploration wells in the first half of 2022 and the year is set to finish with most such wells drilled since 2019, according to an analysis by Westwood Energy.

Westwood said that the 38 high-impact exploration wells were a similar figure to the same period in 2021 when 39 wells were completed. The 38 wells resulted in 13 potentially commercial discoveries at a 34 percent commercial success rate, delivering around 6 billion boe of discovered resources.

Eight of the wells tested frontier plays, with significant basin-opening discoveries at Venus and Graff in the Orange Basin offshore Namibia. Venus is the largest discovery in 2022 so far, with multi-billion boe potential in a Lower Cretaceous Aptian-Albian basin floor fan. There were, however, key frontier failures at Mlima in the Lamu Basin offshore Kenya and Ulcinj offshore Montenegro.

There were 18 wells that tested emerging plays in the first half of 2022 resulting in nine commercial discoveries and a 50 percent commercial success rate. Eight wells were completed in the Upper Cretaceous play offshore Suriname-Guyana delivering six successes. The other emerging play discoveries were in the Levantine, Perth, and Orange basins. Key emerging play failures include Cutthroat in the Sergipe-Alagoas Basin, which tried to extend the Barra Upper Cretaceous play, as well as Apus in the Roebuck Basin offshore Australia, which was unsuccessful in extending the Dorado play.

High-impact exploration in maturing/mature plays disappointed, with only one potentially commercial discovery from 12 wells drilled, at Huron in the US Gulf of Mexico. There were multiple failures attempting to extend the pre-salt play in Brazil, as well as further disappointments in the SWAP license in the shallow waters of Azerbaijan.

High-Impact Exploration Shows Signs Of Recovery

High-impact drilling activity will pick up in the second half of the year, with between 80 and 90 high-impact wells expected to have been drilled by the end of 2022, the highest number since 2019 when 98 high-impact wells were completed.

South America will continue to be an exploration hot spot with more wells planned for the Suriname-Guyana basin and offshore Brazil. Africa will see a return to high-impact exploration in 2022, with key wells planned in South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe following the successes in Namibia earlier in the year. Whilst activity levels in Asia-Pacific and NW Europe are relatively stable, 2022 sees a return to high-impact exploration in the deepwater of the Eastern Mediterranean after 2021 when no wells were drilled.

Westwood highlighted 13 wells planned for the remainder of 2022 as key wells to watch. These include several frontier play tests, for example, Raia offshore Mozambique and Pensacola offshore UK. Others include extensions of proven plays like Zanderij offshore Suriname and Hoodoo in the US Gulf of Mexico as well as large prospects in proven plays such as Wei offshore Guyana.

To contact the author, email bojan.lepic@rigzone.com

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