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Game Changing Discoveries Highlight 21st Century Exploration

Stark, Peter 1; Fryklund, Bob 1
1 IHS Energy, Englewood, CO.

Discoveries from 2000 through 2007 yielded 121,371 MMbo plus 751.5 Tcf of gas. Average annual oil discoveries of 17, 371 MMbo failed to replace annual production of about 30,000 MMbo but gas discoveries replaced annual gas consumption during this period. Regional discoveries were led by the Far East, Africa, C.I.S. and Middle East - all with more than 30 Bboe. Leading countries included Kazakhstan, China, Brazil, Iran and Australia.

Innovative play concepts and technologies rewarded explorers with game changing discoveries during this period. This Century commenced with discovery of the Kashagan field, the largest discovery to date with 18.1 Bboe, a game changer which stamped the Caspian Sea region as a critical hydrocarbon resource. Deepwater Atlantic continental margins yielded game changing discoveries over the past three years. At its Jack 2 well, Chevron demonstrated potential 3 to 13 Bboe recoverable in the deepwater sub-salt Gulf of Mexico Neogene Wilcox play. Petrobras recorded the second largest discovery in this Millennium with 6,525 Bboe at the Tupi field in Brazil’s Santos Basin. Brazil’s deepwater sub-salt play, which extends 500 miles across the Santos, Campos and Espirito Santo basins, has reported more than 15 Bboe of reserves to date and has enormous upside potential. U.S. operators defined game changing resource plays in the Williston Basin Bakken shale oil play and the Haynesville and Fayetteville shale gas plays in the Ark-La-Tex region. Appraisal efforts also established super-giant gas reserves at Turkmenistan’s Yoloten-Osman field which was boosted to the World’s 5th largest gas field during 2008.

These game changing discoveries illustrate that “show time” for the petroleum industry is not dead.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009