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 For immediate release


 Improved exploration performance along with higher oil prices drives renewed optimism, reveals 2018 State of Exploration report

(Aberdeen, UK) – Tuesday, 8th May 2018Today, Westwood Global Energy Group unveiled its 9th annual State of Exploration Report – the definitive global benchmark for conventional oil & gas exploration.  This essential report analyses global conventional exploration performance over the past five years, together with exploration drilling plans for 2018.

“With higher oil prices, improving exploration performance, and the cost of exploration falling more than 50% since 2013/14 plus fewer companies competing for acreage it could be argued that there has not been a better time to be exploring in the last decade”, commented Dr Keith Myers, President of Research at Westwood Global Energy Group.  He added, “But there are challenges too with frontier success rates remaining stubbornly low and new oil plays continuing to be elusive.  The focus continues to be on deep and ultra-deep water for high impact discoveries”

Key conclusions from the report include: –

  • Exploration drilling activity in 2017 was little changed compared to 2016 but performance was strong with discovered volumes more than double that of 2016, overall commercial success rates rising to a record high of 47% and record low finding costs of <$0.5/boe.
  • Success rates were driven by near-field drilling in lower risk mature plays onshore Colombia and Australia whilst volumes were influenced by a few large discoveries, primarily in emerging deep water plays such as Guyana and Senegal.
  • Success in frontier exploration has been elusive and effective high grading of frontier opportunities has not been evident in drilling results. There was no significant frontier discovery in the 39 attempts since Zohr in mid-2015, with Guyana emerging as the biggest new oil province since the Brazil pre-salt.
  • For 2018, exploration drilling is expected to increase by 12% and budgets by 7%, with around 60 high impact wells planned globally for the remainder of 2018, focused in the Atlantic margins, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.
  • The risk profile of the wells being drilled in 2018 has increased and the improved performance seen in 2017 may not be sustained in 2018.


The report analysis covers the key discoveries of 2017, the key plays explored and all frontier drilling.  Importantly, and for the first time, the report also includes a 10-year lookback at global high impact exploration.  Global exploration performance trends are benchmarked using a 40 international E&P company peer group (the ‘W40’).  The 40 companies participated in 855 completed conventional wildcat wells between 2013 and 2017, drilled at a cost of $37.8bn and discovering 28.2 billion boe of oil and gas.

The State of Exploration report is available to purchase in hard copy and digital formats.

Visit Westwood Global Energy Group at or email Rhona McFarlane at [email protected] or telephone +44 (0)20 3794 5381 for more details.


– Ends –


Issued on behalf of Westwood Global Energy Group by Flourish PR Ltd

An abridged executive summary is available for journalists.  For all media enquiries or to arrange an interview please contact: –

Flourish PR Press Office

Flourish PR Ltd

Tel: 01628 882 610

Email: [email protected]


Notes to Editors

Below are graphs for inclusion if required.  Photographs of Dr Keith Myers available on request.  Please contact Flourish PR for more information.

Figure 1 - Gross exploration wells drilled

Figure 1: Gross exploration wells drilled, success rates and discovered commercial resources for the W40 group of companies, 2013-2017.


About Westwood Global Energy Group (Westwood)

Westwood Global Energy Group is a leading provider of research, data analytics and consulting services to the global energy industry. Whilst we focus primarily on intelligence and insight for the worldwide exploration and oilfield services markets, our coverage also extends to the offshore renewables and power generation markets. Our analysis is independent, comprehensive and based on deep sector knowledge.

Westwood Global Energy was formed in January 2015 by Energy Ventures, an energy specialist private equity firm with a vision to build a leading player in the business intelligence and data analytics space.  Following an active period of acquisitions, the group has combined the operations of Hannon Westwood, Richmond Energy Partners, Novas Consulting, Douglas-Westwood, Energent Group Software LLC, RigLogix, and JSI Services. Westwood Global Energy Group is headquartered in Aberdeen and has offices in London, Houston and Singapore.

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