Westwood Insight: UK Exploration momentum is building, but can it be sustained?
Between 2008 and 2017, 199 UKCS exploration wells were drilled by 117 companies targeting 26 plays. 1.5 bnboe of commercial resources were discovered (of which 900 mmboe has been sanctioned for development), at an average of 150 mmboe per year and a drilling finding cost of US$5.1/boe. The UKCS replaced 22% of production through new field discoveries over the decade.
Commercial success rates averaged 27% and 50% of the discovered volume was by just eight companies.
Over the next 18 months, Westwood has identified 17 exploration wells likely to be drilled, testing around over 2 bnboe unrisked resources. Over 1 bnboe of these prospective resources lies in the emerging West of Shetlands plays and a further 600+ mmboe is in the Central North Sea. Westwood analysis shows an industry bias to overestimating prospective discovery sizes, which on average were only 50% of pre-drill estimates since 2014.
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Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 47