GlobalData’s latest report, “H2 2020 Global Oil and Gas Discoveries Review – Russia Led Discoveries Count in H2 2020” notes that 62 discoveries were made in the second half of the year, with conventional oil and gas discoveries dominating. In total, 34 discoveries were made onshore, with the remaining 28 discoveries located offshore.
Among regions, Asia and the Former Soviet Union (FSU) led with 12 oil and gas discoveries each in H2 2020. In Asia 11 conventional gas discoveries and one conventional oil discovery were made, whilst in the FSU six conventional gas and six conventional oil discoveries were made. In other regions, 11 discoveries were made in Europe, seven were made each in South America and the Middle East, five were made in Africa, three in both Oceania and North America, and two in the Caribbean.
In H2 2020, although Russia led globally in terms of the number of discoveries, some of the most significant were made in Norway, which saw a total of eight (five conventional oil and three conventional gas discoveries) in the second half of the year. In November 2020, ConocoPhillips announced a gas condensate discovery located 35 kilometres (km) northwest of the Heidrun field in the Norwegian Sea. The deepwater well (6507/4-1 (Warka prospect)) was drilled to a total depth of 4,985 meters (m) (16,355 feet (ft)) and the discovery is estimated to hold between 50-190 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent, according to reported preliminary estimates. Later in December 2020, the company made another discovery with the wildcat well 6507/5-10 S (Slagugle prospect). The well was located 23km north of the Heidrun field. It was drilled to a vertical depth of 2,179 m (7,149 ft) and initial evaluation estimates that the discovery holds between 75-200 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent.
Among operators globally, Saudi Arabian Oil Co and Equinor Energy AS have been the most successful in H2 2020, with six and four discoveries respectively. Saudi Arabian Oil Co made two each of conventional oil and unconventional gas discoveries and one each of conventional gas and unconventional oil discoveries. The Hadabat al-Hajara well is reportedly flowing gas at an average rate of 16 mmscfd and condensate at a rate of 1,944 bpd, whilst the Abraq al-Toloul well is reported to have started producing 3,000 bpd of crude oil, 49 barrels of condensate, and 1.1 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of natural gas.