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Report Summary 

This report analyses the results of the 124 exploration wells drilled in the 2015 – 2019 period in the UK and Norway Central and Northern North Sea basins, as well as the results to date for 2020 and the outlook for the next 18 months.

A total of 59 discoveries were made from the 124 exploration wells drilled, of which 29 are considered commercial, containing gross resources of 1,059 mmboe (715 mmbbl oil and 2.1 tcf gas). The five-year commercial success rate was 23%, with a drilling finding cost of US$4.85/boe. A further 30 wells made non-commercial discoveries, giving an overall technical success rate (TSR) of 48% from the 59 wells that found hydrocarbons.

Figure 1: Well results with commercial and technical success rates per annum in the North Sea. Source: Westwood Wildcat
Figure 2: Commercial oil and gas resources discovered and finding costs per annum in the North Sea. Source: Westwood Wildcat

CLICK HERE To read a Westwood Insight of the report.


Key Messages

Setting the Scene

  • 2015 – 2020
  • North Sea Exploration History

Exploration Drilling Activity and Spend

Exploration Performance

  • North Sea – UK and Norway Combined
  • UK vs Norway Performance
  • Basin Performance
  • Play Performance

ILX vs. Non-ILX Drilling

  • Activity
  • Performance
  • Impact on Production Hubs

High Impact Drilling

  • Activity
  • Performance
  • High Impact Prospects in Proven Plays
  • Frontier Play Tests
  • Discussion

Resource Progression

  • Status of Commercial Discoveries

Company Performance

  • Activity
  • Exploration Performance
  • Discussion

2020 Exploration Drilling

  • Activity
  • UK
  • Norway
  • Performance

Planned Wells