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Statistical Profiles of Petroleum Development in Niger River Delta and North Sea Basins

E. D. Attanasi, D. H. Root, R. M. Turner

The evolution of exploration and production in a petroleum basin is illustrated objectively in the accumulated geophysical and drilling statistics. The subjective judgments guiding the process are not amenable to statistical treatment, but presumably are reflected in the results. We summarized the exploration/discovery process for the Niger River delta and the North Sea basins using a series of maps and graphs for the two areas showing the exploration and subsequent production in chronological sequence.

Nearly 800 exploratory wells drilled in the Niger River delta from 1952 to 1983 found 23 billion bbl of reserves over a 35,000-mi2 area. More than 93% of the oil found in this period is from the area delineated by 1966.

In the North Sea, 1,339 exploratory wells drilled from 1951 to 1983 delineated a 98,000-mi2 area that is still expanding, particularly in Norwegian waters to the north. The discovery rate is irregular because more than one geologic basin is involved in this complex area, and most of the activity was first concentrated in the southern basin. If the presently declining discovery rate particularly in the northern part of the pre-1973 area, is extrapolated for 800 additional exploratory wells, 12 billion bbl of oil equivalent (BOE) would be added to the 43 billion BOE found to date. Comparing the amounts of oil and gas discovered in the pre-1973 and post-1972 areas for similar numbers of wildcat wells shows the post-1972 area to be 1.23 times richer than the pre-1973 area.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91043©1986 AAPG Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 15-18, 1986.