UK-based consultancy group Wood Mackenzie has dubbed 2022 a standout year for exploration – the strongest in more than a decade.
The global exploration sector, in its bid to improve portfolios by adding lower-carbon, lower-cost advantaged barrels, created at least US$33 billion in value and achieved full-cycle returns of 22%, at US$60/barrel Brent prices, WoodMac’s ‘Oil and gas exploration: 2022 in review’ report stated.
While exploration well numbers for the year were less than half the numbers during pre-pandemic years, WoodMac found that the total volume of 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent matched the average annual volumes of 2013-2019.
“2022 was a standout year for exploration,” said Julie Wilson, Director of global exploration research at Wood Mac. “Volumes were good, but not stellar. However, explorers were able to drive very high value through strategic selection and focusing on the best and largest prospects. The discoveries bring higher-quality hydrocarbons into companies’ portfolios, allowing them to reduce carbon by displacing less advantaged oil and gas supplies while also meeting the world’s energy needs.”
Wilson wrote that the highest value came from world-class discoveries in a new deepwater play in Namibia, resource additions in Algeria and several new deepwater discoveries in Guyana and Brazil, where the latest wave of pre-salt exploration finally met with success.
2022: Guyana’s biggest year for oil and gas exploration | OilNOW
“The average discovery last year was over 150 million barrels of oil equivalent, more than double the average of the previous decade.”
It was a stellar year for Guyana. Operator of Guyana’s Stabroek Block – ExxonMobil – copped nine discoveries, its best exploration year since 2015. And according to Westwood Energy, all nine discoveries made by Exxon were high-impact, each amounting to more than 100 million barrels of oil equivalent.
The petroleum resources discovered at Stabroek in 2022 could be more than a billion oil-equivalent barrels.