Although 2019 was a disappointing year in terms of high-impact well (HIW) drilling in the oil and gas sector, comparatively stable market conditions are favoring new exploration activity in 2020 for areas that combine high risk and high rewards.
Rystad Energy, the independent energy research and consulting firm headquartered in Norway with offices across the globe, identified what it considers the top 30 high impact wells that will be drilled this year, with the lion’s share located in The Americas and Africa.
Five of the wells are located in North America, seven in South America and six in Africa. Of the remaining wells, four are scheduled to be drilled in Asia, three each in Oceania and the Middle East, and two in Europe.
Rystad Energy classifies wells as high-impact through an assessment of number of key factors, including the size of the prospects, whether they could open new hydrocarbon plays in frontier or emerging basins, and their significance to the operator.
Shell and Eni will drill the Chibu and Ehecatl prospects in their respective blocks in Mexico, targeting a collective 350 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) of gross unrisked resources. The seven HIWs scheduled to be drilled in South America this year will target gross predrill resources of over 5 billion boe. Among Africa’s HIWs, Guinea Bissau’s deepwater Atum well will target a potential 470 million boe.
During the past 3 years, 95 HIWs have been drilled globally, with 40 of them resulting in discoveries – equating to a 42% success rate. Looking solely at 2019, however, the success rate of the 35 HIWs drilled was only 31%.