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Exploration Trends in Latin America

Abstract

The largest fields discovered during the last 10 years in Latin America were found in the deep offshore, with over 77 BBOE were added and with average field sizes of 550 MMBOE. By far most of these discoveries are located in the pre-salt of the Campos and Santos Basins in Brazil. Discoveries in the Shelf areas during the same period were also important, totaling about 6.8 BBoe, with average field sizes of 85 MMBOE. Of these the most important was the Perla discovery in the Gulf of Venezuela. On land, the largest fields were found in the fold and thrust belts, with average field sizes of 58 MMBOE, but with small total volumes since only a few wells were drilled in this environment. About 7.5 BBOE were discovered in the onshore, in numerous small fields, being the Llanos basin of Colombia and the Neuquén Basin of Argentina the most prominent. However the unconventional resources of the Vaca Muerta Fm. in the Neuquén basin include the largest resources to be developed in the onshore of the continent. Looking into the future, Latin America still maintains important conventional opportunities. Onshore, the most promising area are the heavy oil accumulations in the flanks of the subandean basins (Orinoco and Llanos), as well as the foothills areas which have been poorly explored in the last years. Offshore many off the Atlantic basins still remain very poorly explored, and thus hold important potential as recently demonstrated by new discoveries in Guyana. The deep offshore Caribbean basins of Colombia and Mexico will be areas of major focus in the coming years.