Emerging play options shrinking, Guyana & Suriname account for over 50% this year

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Emerging play options around the world are shrinking with over 50% of such wells planned for 2021 located in the Guyana-Suriname basin where over 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources have been discovered since 2015.

According to Westwood Global Energy Group, frontier drilling levels are anticipated to remain low in 2021 and frontier commercial success rates remain challenging at 6% in 2016-2020.

With the exception of Guyana and Suriname, the oil plays have generally been more limited in size. None of the plays that have been discovered since Liza in 2015 has even come close to delivering a multi-billion-barrel result.

Liza could be last major frontier oil play discovered in the world – Westwood

“New emerging oil plays are likely to be in proven basins and limited in scale – no significant new oil play has been discovered since Liza in 2015,” Westwood said in a new analysis published on Thursday which references its State of Exploration 2021 report.

Current projections for 2021 suggest that activity should at least match the 70 wells in 2020 with the potential to be higher and up to 100, with drilling plans still being fluid and expected to firm up in the first quarter of the year.

Westwood said much of this activity is weighted to the second half of the year and roughly 50% of the wells are located in Mexico, Brazil, and Suriname-Guyana.

Guyana-Suriname basin at top of watch list, Bulletwood and Bonboni could deliver big pay

“Some of the key wells to watch include Venus offshore Namibia, Pelles offshore Canada, Cutthroat offshore Brazil and Silverback, which is currently drilling in the US GoM,” Westwood said.

The consultancy group said this is a critical time for exploration without question, with the IEA’s recently released road map to net zero in 2050 concluding that under this scenario no new exploration or project sanctions will be needed to meet future oil and gas demand. This lays down the challenge for policy makers and industry as the world heads towards COP26.

2021 could be busiest year ever for exploration at Stabroek block

“The State of Exploration report found no evidence of a systematic change in industry exploration strategy yet in response to the Energy Transition in the 2016-2020 period, nor in plans for 2021.  There has, however, been an increasing focus on shorter cycle exploration set in train following the 2014 oil price crash,” Westwood said.

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