Global discoveries of conventional oil and natural gas were up nearly 30 percent in the first half of 2018 compared to last year, according to a recent analysis by Oslo-based Rystad Energy, an independent energy research and business intelligence company.
The figures released last Friday reveal an "exciting recovery" with discovered resources already surpassing 4.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) in the first half of 2018.
"The average monthly discovered volumes year to date are estimated at 826 million boe, up approximately 30 percent compared to 625 million boe in 2017," the company said in a press release.
The analysis found Guyana was the leading country in terms of total discovered resources in the first six months of the year, followed by the U.S, the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus, Oman and Norway.
"These five countries hold three-fourths of the total resources discovered this year," it said.
According to the report, the biggest offshore discovery to date this year is believed to be the Eni-operated Calypso gas find offshore the divided island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean with 674 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe).
The largest onshore discovery, a gas condensate find of 628 mmboe, was reported on Oman's Mabrouk North East prospect, operated by Petroleum Development Oman, it added.
According to the statement, ExxonMobil's spate of oil discoveries continue in Guyana's Stabroek block with three major oil discoveries reported in 2018 - Ranger, Pacora and Longtail.
These three are estimated to hold together almost 1 billion barrels of oil or more, it said, adding these finds followed previous major discoveries on the block at Liza, Payara, Snoek and Turbot.
In the U.S., Chevron and Mobil discovered significant oil resources at Ballymore and Dover prospects in the Norphlet play in deepwater Gulf of Mexico, the statement said.
Chevron's Ballymore holds 560 mmboe, whereas Mobil’s Dover prospect holds 190 mmboe, the data revealed.
"In the Norwegian Sea, significant discoveries were reported by OMV and Wintershall in the Aasgard and Aasta Hansteen area respectively, with combined recoverable resources close to 240 million boe," the statement said.
In the North Sea, Aker BP and Equinor made the other two discoveries, which together added 75 million boe, it added.
According to Rystad Energy, the discovery trend is expected to continue in the second half of the year "backed by ongoing exploration in emerging offshore provinces and many promising high-impact wells targeting potential resources in the millions".
Espen Erlingsen, head of Upstream Research, said an uptick of 30 percent from the "abnormally low" levels in 2017 might seem encouraging, but exploration and production players were currently facing a low reserve replacement ratio, on average of less than 10 percent.
"This is worrisome considering the impact on global oil supply in the long term," he added.
By Hale Turkes