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Worldwide Trends in the Discoveries of Giant Fields from 2006-12 with Predictions on the Locations and Numbers of Future Giants

Mann, Paul; Dowla, Naila

We use a compilation of over 1300 articles and news releases to document the addition of 40 new oil giants and 36 new gas giants during the period of 2006-12. These newest giants bring the world's total count of giant fields to 1039 which collectively make up about half of the world's conventional hydrocarbon reserves. The number, size and ratio of oil and gas giants diverge significantly from the long-term, post-1965 decline curve for giants. The number of gas giants is steadily rising relative to the number of oil giants. We attribute this spike in giant discoveries to technological improvements including improved efficiencies in deep-water exploration. The basinal setting for the 76 new giants in the 2006-12 period is consistent with our 2003 study of the most giant-prone oil and gas basinal settings. The majority of the 2006-2012 discoveries are found along continental passive margins fronting major ocean basins (13 in Brazil, 9 in east Africa, 7 in west Africa, 5 in the Gulf of Mexico, 3 in the North Sea, 2 in Australia, and 1 each in India and China). Far fewer giants were found in rift and inverted rift settings (2 in South East Asia, 1 each in North Africa and China) and on continental and arc collisional margins ( 9 in Russia, 2 in northern South America). Extrapolating trends seen in 2006-11, we predict that: 1) about 80 oil and gas giants will be discovered in the period from 2013 to 2020; 2.) two thirds of those giants will be gas; 3) three quarters of all giant discoveries will be offshore; 4) upcoming giant discoveries will cluster on known or emerging clusters on the western and eastern margins of Africa, North Sea, Barents Sea, Siberia, eastern Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90163©2013AAPG 2013 Annual Convention and Exhibition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 19-22, 2013