A ten year low in oil discoveries in Norway in 2017 doesn’t deter an expected increase in drilling in 2018, whilst performance continues to improve in the UK with the focus switching to gas for 2018.
In 2017, there was a shift towards high impact exploration drilling in both the UK and Norway. Norway saw a concerted effort of 10 exploration wells in the Arctic Barents Sea region and there were also five high impact tests in the UK North Sea, which is unusual for such a mature basin.
Results from these high impact prospects, testing prospective volumes greater than 100 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) were disappointing, with just one commercial success so far announced in the UK with most likely resources of <100 million barrels. Despite this in the UK, high success rates in infrastructure-led exploration wells near production hubs in 2017 meant commercial success rates have now increased year-on-year since 2013 to reach over 40% with the highest oil volumes discovered since 2009, with three results still pending.