Over 670,000 oil & gas wells need to be drilled through 2020
From 2014 through 2020 the world oil & gas industry will need to drill over 670,000 wells, to meet forecasts of oil & gas demand. This is the headline conclusion of results from a major research programme by leading energy business research & consulting firm Douglas-Westwood (DW).
DW’s World Development Drilling & Production Forecast published today, states that in 2013 oil & gas development wells drilled totalled over 79,000, but in 2020 well numbers will need to exceed 106,000. These are required to meet global oil & gas demand, which is set to grow 17% by 2020.
“As the easiest-to-access oil and gas reserves deplete, each year we have to drill more and more wells for less and less production per well. Over the period, numbers of development wells drilled need to grow 35% to enable oil & gas production to meet an expected demand growth of 17%,” said DW chairman, John Westwood. “This effect is most marked onshore where by 2020 we expect production to grow by 15%, whereas offshore production should grow at 21% due to developments in deepwater.”
Matt Cook, the DW geologist who leads the extensive drilling & production modelling programme, added, “In 2013, 113 deepwater oil & gas development wells were drilled but by 2018 this number should reach over 400; meanwhile production will grow from 6 mboe/d to 9.5 mboe/d.”
Individual countries are facing very different situations. Speaking about Norway, DW’s Andy Jenkins commented, “After several years of decline, oil production in Norway is expected to slightly increase by 2020. This will be led by improved recovery from existing fields and greenfield projects such as the Goliat and Johan Sverdrup fields. DW forecast gas production will increase to 1.95 mboe/d from 1.84 mboe/d off the back of substantial investment and a number of planned projects in the Barents Sea. Such redevelopments will see the number of well completions sit around the 200 mark into the 2020s.”
Senior analyst, Matt Loffman, highlighting the USA, commented, “Driven by onshore unconventional liquids production, the US has gained approximately 2 mb/d crude in addition to almost 0.5 mboe/d of gas in the past two years. As rigs are focused on oil-targeted wells in the future, onshore oil well completions are set for a 36% increase by 2020.”
Traditionally productive regions are in decline and face a variety of futures. Shallow water oil production is struggling for growth, despite high levels of investment, while many ageing onshore regions require redevelopment and must turn to unconventionals, as North America has, in order to stand a chance of long term growth. However, global oil & gas supplies and accordingly the drilling industry will remain dominated by onshore activity, accounting for 97% of well completions and 71% of global output.