--> Emerging Trends From 114 Giant Oil and Gas Fields Discovered From the Decade 2008– 2017

AAPG Hedberg Conference, The Evolution of Petroleum Systems Analysis

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Emerging Trends From 114 Giant Oil and Gas Fields Discovered From the Decade 2008– 2017


The year of 2018 celebrates the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the first giant field, La Brea, in the Los Angeles basin. Since then, 1065 giant oil and gas fields have been found with a total reserve of about 2,900,000 million barrel equivalent, which account for about half of the world’s petroleum reserves. In the decade of 2008‐2017, 47 new oil giants and 33 new gas giants were added to the existing 985 giant fields of the previous 14 decades of discovery. We have identified several dominant clusters of giants occupying specific tectonic settings. The 80 new giant discoveries from 2008 to 2017 account for 7.5% of the total giant discoveries and 4.9% of the total giant reserves. Recent discoveries appear in two established clusters in the passive margin setting of the GOM (8 oil discoveries in subsalt and Norphlet plays) and the Campos/Santos basins of southeast Brazil (16 oil discoveries in subsalt plays). Smaller giants discovered infilling known clusters include northwest Australia (2 gas), North Sea (1 oil), the Kwanza Basin (2 gas). The most densely spaced and prolific emerging cluster is the passive margin/deltaic/slope setting of East Africa (12 gas fields) occupies a 40,000 km2 area. Stratigraphic traps within Cretaceous submarine fans distributed discontinuously along passive margins contribute to emerging clusters in Guyana (2 oil fields), Venezuela (1 gas), Senegal (1 oil/3 gas), Eastern Mediterranean Sea (4 gas), Caspian Sea (1 oil/2 gas), Tarim Basin (1 oil/1 gas), Alaska (2 oil), Nigeria (2 oil), and the conjugate margins of Borneo (1 gas) and Viet Nam (1 oil). An emerging, linear foreland basin giants trend is found within 200 km from the thrust front of the Zagros Foldbelt in the Persian Gulf. We use the decline curve in the discovery of conventional giants to predict 21 future oil and gas giant discoveries will be made during the period of 2018 to 2027. This tally would make 2008‐ 2017 the fifth highest discovery decade since the first giant discovery in 1858.