According to Westwood Energy Group, Total, Shell, and Exxon are expected to be the most active high impact explorers in 2021. The consultancy firm which is considered one of the leaders in oil and gas market research, noted in its latest assessment that French oil major Total has the widest geographic spread with wells possible in more than 10 countries. With respect to Shell, the research group said it is expected to have a focus in Mexico, although it is also planning two high impact wells in the United Kingdom and a frontier test in Sao Tome. As for ExxonMobil, Westwood noted that this oil titan is focused on just Brazil and Guyana, while its Stabroek Block partner, CNOOC is focused on Guyana, Canada and Mexico.

This news agency understands from the group’s report that previously active companies such as Repsol and Tullow have cut high impact drilling significantly in response to strategy changes.

Further to this, Westwood highlighted that there are 20 wells in 2021 that are key for investors to watch.

The wells selected fall into four categories:

1. Two are frontier basin tests which, if successful, can open multi-billion barrel plays (Venus offshore Namibia, Perseverance offshore Bahamas)

2. Seven are testing new plays in proven basins, or testing extensions of proven plays in to deeper water that offer benefits of large volumes with follow on potential (e.g. Silverback in the GoM, Rencong in N Sumatra).

3. Six are testing extensions to proven commercial deepwater plays with significant potential albeit at some risk (e.g. Ondjaba offshore Angola, Bulletwood offshore Guyana, Nemo offshore Brazil)

4. Five are large prospects in proven plays that will be high value if successful (e.g. Edinburgh offshore UK, Dan Day offshore Vietnam)

Westwood noted that while high impact exploration may have taken a few hits in 2020 from the ravages of a global pandemic, a crash in the oil price and the acceleration of the energy transition, it in no way means that the game is over for oil exploration in 2021.


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