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Henry S. Pettingill1
(1) Repsol-YPF SA, Madrid, Spain

Abstract: Giant oil and gas discoveries of the 1990’s: A review

67 giant discoveries ( 500 MMBOE recoverable) were made between 1990 and 1999. Corresponding total resources are 89 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BBOE) recoverable—26 billion barrels of oil, 6.8 billion barrels of condensate, and 337 trillion cubic feet of gas. A review of the quality of these figures will be presented.

29 BBOE were found in the Middle East (11 discoveries), 16 BBOE from Russia and the Caspian (5 discoveries), 12 BBOE from the Far East (15 discoveries), 12 BBOE from Latin America (9 discoveries), 9 BBOE from West Africa (12 discoveries), and 4 BBOE from North Africa (5 discoveries). An additional 7 BBOE was found in 10 discoveries within North America and Norway. OPEC countries account for approximately half of the total.

In terms of basin setting, continental margins provided the majority of discovered resources in the 1990’s. 37 giants comprising 35 BBOE (39% of the total) are from divergent margin basins, 8 giants (15 BBOE, 16%) from intracratonic basins, and 22 giants (40 BBOE, 45%) from convergent margin basins. Reservoirs range from Ordovician to Pliocene, with 29 BBOE from 11 Paleozoic discoveries, 29 BBOE from 26 Mesozoic discoveries, and 30 BBOE from 32 Tertiary discoveries.

Deep-water ( 500m) discoveries stand out because, although comprising only 13% of the resources, the mix is 73% oil, in contrast to 29% oil for the overall total. Most of this oil was discovered in the past four years, within Tertiary reservoirs along the Atlantic margins of Brazil, Africa, and the Gulf of Mexico. The deep-water Tertiary trend is almost certain to continue into the next millennium, with new geographic areas coming into play.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana