Skip to main content
  • The latest data for global exploration shows some signs of recovery after the lows of recent years, with discovered commercial resources for 1H 2017 being twice that for the same period in 2016.
  • Whilst drilling is down in Asia-Pacific for the first half of 2017, commercial success rates are holding up in some areas, with Australasia at 45 per cent and Southeast Asia at 25 per cent, compared to a global average of 43 per cent.
  • The region is looking to capitalise further on significant gas discoveries to continue development of the growing liquified natural gas market.
  • Asia-Pacific’s more recent successes include CNOOC’s gas discovery in the South China Sea (Lingshui), Shell’s discovery of gas in Malaysia (Jerun), Woodside’s success (gas) in offshore Myamnar (Thalin) and ExxonMobil’s discoveries of gas in Vietnam (Ca Voi Xanh) and Papua New Guinea (Muruk).
  • From analysis of commercial success rates, finding costs and discovered resources for the ‘W40’ benchmark company group, Papua New Guinea topped the 19 countries in the region (2012-2016) and ranked 10th in the world for the same study period, rising to 3rd globally in 2016.

(Aberdeen, UK) – 13 July 2017 – Westwood Global Energy Group, the energy market research consultancy, has released new statistics for exploration in the Asia-Pacific region which show that green shoots of recovery are starting to appear.

The data is taken from Westwood’s 2017 State of Exploration (SoE) Report, the definitive global benchmark for conventional oil & gas exploration. The report covers five years of global exploration (2012-2016) and benchmarks the performance of 40 international E&P companies (the ‘W40’) covering 991 conventional completed wildcat wells which had W40 participation.

Globally, commercial oil & gas volumes discovered fell to a nine-year low in 2016. This is a response to a ‘lower for longer’ oil price scenario. This has caused companies to reduce exploration programmes further, with less exposure to frontier, especially deep water, and emerging play drilling.

Westwood Global Energy Group’s data reveals that:

  • Gas continued to be the focus for the W40 in Asia-Pacific between 2012-2016, with ~15.8 tcf of gas and ~293 mmbo discovered from 281 exploration wells drilled in the region.
  • Of the 991 wells with W40 participation during 2012-2016, 541 were classed as high impact wells. 84 of these were drilled in the Asia-Pacific region, discovering ~9.6 tcf of gas and 103 mmbbl of liquids.
  • Between 2012-2016, PNG topped the region for discovered commercial resources with ~4.6 tcf of gas and ~120 mmbbl from 17 wells, while Australia was 2nd with explorers discovering ~4 tcf and ~80 mmbbl.
  • Westwood Global Energy Group recorded nine commercial discoveries globally in 2016 ≥100 mmboe, compared to 18 in 2015 and 34 in 2014. Three of the discoveries were oil only, with the remaining six split into two oil and gas, two gas-condensate and two gas. For the Asia-Pacific region these included the Thalin-1A well drilled in the Rakhine Basin.
  • Across Asia-Pacific, drilling is down approximately ~50 per cent for the first half of 2017 compared to 2016, with only Australasia almost on par with last year. Exploration drilling in Southeast Asia is down ~73 per cent, but commercial success rates for these sub-regions are holding up on the reduced exploration drilling.

Andrew Hughes, Head of Research, Global Exploration, at Westwood Global Energy Group, comments:

“Whilst 2016 may prove to be the nadir in terms of global conventional exploration, there are signs that a recovery is slowly under way. Already, global discovered commercial volumes for the first half of 2017 have surpassed the total for 2016 and we anticipate more success this year.

“The industry is emerging leaner and fitter from this latest down-cycle, but it must be able to remain disciplined during the bull oil market to come (whenever that might be). The key for all companies now is to keep finding costs below $1–2/bbl, or perhaps a bit higher for near field discoveries where development costs are lower.”

Westwood Global Energy Group is headquartered in Aberdeen with offices in London, Houston and Singapore and has over 60 employees.