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Jubilee to Liza – The Keys to Unlocking Commercial Success

Cretaceous turbidite plays of the deepwater Atlantic margins have been a focus for exploration drilling for the past 10 years, encouraged by the play opening Jubilee discovery in Ghana in 2007. This research note evaluates the results to date and reviews the success factors that have emerged from a decade of exploration.

The study area covers the deep waters of Guyana to NE Brazil on the South American margin and Mauritania to Cameroon on the West African margin. 128 exploration wells chasing the Jubilee play concept have been drilled by the industry from 2007 to February 2018, at a cost of $11.4bn, by 24 operators and 54 participating companies.

Frontier exploration in the Cretaceous turbidite plays of 13 basins has delivered commercial resources in 4 basins at a commercial success rate of 8% and technical success rate of 39%. The Tano, MSGBC, Sergipe-Alagoas and Suriname-Guyana basins have delivered a total 6.5 bnbbl of oil and 37 tcf of gas in stratigraphic and combination traps. Overall the average oil finding cost is $1.7/bbl whilst on the African margin the oil finding cost increases to $3.2/bbl due to the unpredicted predominance of gas.

The commercial resources found to date are located in areas dominated by normal faulting and pre-existing rift topography, allowing for turbidite systems to pond and creating hydrocarbon migration focal points. Success in these areas is also influenced by the input of texturally mature clastic sediments from more favorable provenance areas into the basins, combined with richer marine source rocks. Poor success rates appear on areas of the margins dominated by strike-slip deformation, creating more abrupt margins and confined turbidite systems.

The commercial success rates of these plays can be increased by better integration of regional petroleum system analysis with seismic attribute analysis. This lesson is not new as it was presented 10 years ago by the team who discovered Jubilee.

The report outlines clearly how the industry can be more effective at implementing the lessons learnt in the past.


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