Operators drilled more wildcats, reported fewer discoveries in 2001

Operators made 173 new oil field discoveries and 162 gas discoveries outside North America in 2001, down from 2000 totals, reported IHS Energy Group, Epsom, U.K.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, August 1 -- Operators made 173 new oil field discoveries and 162 gas discoveries outside North America in 2001, down from 2000 totals, reported IHS Energy Group, Epsom, U.K.

Companies reported 53 fewer discoveries last year than in 2000 even though they drilled 73 more new field wildcats.

IHS estimated that the 2001 discoveries excluding North America contained total recoverable volumes of 8.9 billion bbl of liquids and 42.2 tcf of gas. Figures show 2001 to be the first year since 1995 when gas discoveries were significantly below annual production.

World discoveries
The IHS annual World Petroleum Trends report, published on CD-Rom and online, showed that in 2001 operators reported 335 oil and gas discoveries from the drilling of 968 new field wildcats outside North America. Success rate declined to 35% in 2001 from 43% in 2000.

The number of discoveries likely to be deemed commercial cannot be known at present.
Of the 335 discoveries, 54% were in the Far East/Australasia.

IHS estimated 2001 discovery volumes at: Far East/Australasia 2 billion bbl of liquids and 22.8 tcf of gas; Africa 2.6 billion bbl and 5.2 tcf; Latin America, 1.4 billion bbl and 4 tcf; Europe 800 million bbl and 2.7 tcf; Middle East 1.4 billion bbl and 6.7 tcf; and CIS 700 million bbl and 800 bcf.

Giant discoveries of 500 million boe or more in 2001 were Io (gas) and Titanichthys (gas-condensate), both in Australia; Day (gas-condensate) and Kushk (oil), both in Iran; Bonga Southwest (oil and gas) in Nigeria; Khazzan (gas) in Oman; and Rakushechnoye (gas) in Russia.

Appraisal in 2002 of Buzzard field (oil), discovered in the UK in 2001, indicated that this might also be a giant.

Mauritania (Chinguetti, oil) and the Faroes (Marjun, oil and gas) got their first discoveries ever in 2001.

The number of new license awards made outside North America decreased 15% from 2000, and the number of licenses active during 2001 was comparable to that in 2000.

Reserves, production
IHS estimated that world reserves outside North America at the end of 2001 stood at 1,112 billion bbl of liquids and 6,054 tcf of conventional gas.

This put reserves to production ratios at 41 years for liquids and 64 years for gas. This is a drop for liquids from 42 years in 2000, with the overall trend for the decade also being downward, and the R/P figure for gas was down from 66 years in 2000, showing that demand for oil and gas continues to outpace discovery.

OPEC reserves of liquids are 701 billion bbl, almost double the 411 billion bbl in non-OPEC countries, giving R/P figures of 64 and 26 years, respectively.

Total world production in 2001 was 26.8 billion bbl of liquids, flat with 2000, and 94.6 tcf of gas, up on the year.

Liquids production showed a slight drop in most world regions, but a significant upturn in Russian output and a smaller increase in Latin American output brought total output just above 73.3 million b/d, equal to the 2000 figure.

Gas production was up in all regions except Latin America. It increased globally to 259 bcfd in 2001 from 252 bcfd in 2000.

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