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The future of exploration: Big wells mainly in deepwater and frontiers

Over the next few years, we expect most of the ‘wells to watch’ will be operated by the Majors and a handful of bolder independents. And we expect, as has been the case throughout the downturn, the best discoveries to come from newly-proven plays and frontiers, with again, more than half of all volumes being found in deepwater.

Exploration risk tolerance should strengthen and the average exploration well success rates that have been trending down from around 40% to 35% over the past decade, might start to increase, perhaps back up to 35-40%, reflecting fewer very-high-risk wells.

With budgets likely to remain tight, prospects with less than a one in ten chance of success are unlikely to be drilled. We’ll be watching many wells around the world with potential to open new plays or add large volumes. These will likely include:

• Africa: Gambia (FAR), Namibia (Tullow), Senegal (BP, Kosmos) and South Africa (Total).
• Americas: Aruba (Repsol), Brazil (Petrobras, Total), Canada Nova Scotia (BP), Guyana (ExxonMobil), Mexico (Pemex, Total) and Peru (Karoon).
• Europe: Cyprus deepwater (Eni), Montenegro’s Adriatic Sea (Eni), Norway’s Barents (Statoil), and potentially offshore Portugal (Eni).
• Rest of the World: Papua New Guinea (Total) and Russia Sakhalin (Gazpromneft).

Source: Wood Mackenzie

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