Accessibility Links

7 Oil & Gas discoveries and awards in January 2020



According to Rystad Energy, Oil & Gas discoveries were at a four year high in 2019, mostly from offshore regions.

(Image via Shutterstock)

Over 12.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) were discovered in total, with 26 discoveries consisting of more than 100 million boe. The research firm highlighted four discoveries for ExxonMobil in Guyana’s Stabroek block, the deepest-water find of BP’s Orca gas field, Total’s Brulpadda in South Africa, ExxonMobil’s Glaucus in Cyprus, CNOOC’s Glengorm in the UK and Equinor’s Sputnik in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea. 

With ultra-deepwater exploration set to continue and more finds anticipated in areas like Guyana, Mozambique, South America and Australia, Fircroft will continue to follow and highlight the major discoveries of 2020 for engineering professionals.

So as we approach the end of January, here is EngineeringPro’s round up of the top 7 Oil & Gas discoveries and awards made so far this year.

Location of Block 58 offshore Suriname
(Image via Total)

1. Apache and Total make major discovery offshore Suriname

Early this month Apache corp and Total SA announced a major oil discovery off the coast of Surname, South America, dubbed “among the most anticipated [discoveries] in the world”.

The Maka Central-1 well on Block 58 was drilled in a water depth of 1,000 metres and discovered more than 123 metres of high-quality light oil and gas rich condensate net pay in multiple stacked reservoirs in the Upper Cretaceous Campanian and Santonian formations. 

“We are very pleased with this first significant oil discovery, made just after our entry into Block 58. The result is very encouraging and proves the extension of the prolific world-class Guyana Cretaceous oil play into Suriname waters,” said Kevin McLachlan, Senior Vice President Exploration at Total. “We are optimistic about the large remaining potential of the area still to be discovered and will test several other prospects on the same block.”

Apache and Total each hold a 50% working interest in the well, with Apache acting as the operator. A second exploration well will be drilled in the Sapakara West-1 prospect, followed by a third in a yet-to-be announced region, after which operatorship will transfer to Total.

Desert drilling near Sharjah
(Image via Oil & Gas Middle East)

2. Sharjah national oil company makes first gas discovery in three decades

A new 3D seismic survey covering the Area B Concession in Sharjah, UAE led to the successful drilling of an exploration well by The Sharjah National Oil Corporation (SNOC) and ENI.

The discovery, named “Mahani” is the first onshore gas discovery in the United Arab Emirates since the early 1980s. The well was drilled to a total measured depth of 14,597 feet and encountered gas with associated condensate within the Thamama Group, the primary target for the well. Gas flow rates tested at up to 50mscfd together with associated condensate. 

Further drilling is planned to ascertain the full size of the discovery.

“I am delighted that the first exploration well to be drilled in Sharjah by SNOC, is a gas discovery. This is the first onshore Sharjah discovery in 37 years and marks the beginning of an exciting time for SNOC and for Sharjah’s energy sector. Partnerships like these allow us to combine our knowledge towards such successful outcomes and we look forward to further collaboration in the future,” said Hatem Al Mosa, CEO of SNOC.

Discoveries made so far on the Stabroek block
(Image via ExxonMobil)

3. ExxonMobil increase finds from Stabroek block offshore Guyana

ExxonMobil’s discovery streak on the Stabroek block continues, with the Uaru exploration well, northeast of the producing Liza field. This is now the 16th discovery on the Stabroek Block and brings ExxonMobil’s estimated recoverable resource base in Guyana to over 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent. 

The Uaru well was drilled in 1,933 metres of water and encountered approximately 29 metres of high-quality oil-bearing sandstone reservoir. 

“With recent high-quality finds at Tripletail and Mako contributing to our recoverable resources, our investments will continue to provide benefits for the people of Guyana,” said Mike Cousins, senior vice president of exploration and new ventures at ExxonMobil. 

“The Uaru discovery is another positive step as we begin a new decade with the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and our co-venturers.”

Offshore blocks to be made available in Senegal's first ever offshore licensing round
(Image via TGS)

4. Senegal launches offshore license round

PETROSEN, Senegal’s national oil company, has officially launched the country’s first ever offshore licensing round. 

12 blocks on the MSGBC basin have been made available, with companies able to submit bids over the next six months. 

A stand-alone survey (SN-UDO-19) is being made available to provide companies with regional data include ultra-deepwater plays similar to the successful Sangomar field, GTA complex and Yakaar discoveries. Fast track data will be available in the second quarter of 2020. Additional data is being delivered by TGS and GeoPartners who are undertaking an active 3D seismic acquisition. 

“The launch of Senegal’s landmark license round is a seminal moment in the nation’s hydrocarbon history. TGS is delighted to be able to support this initiative with a full complement of regional data sets that should help E&P companies to de-risk their exploration activities as they seek to take advantage of a world-renowned oil and gas basin,” said Rune Eng, executive vice president, Southern Hemisphere of TGS.

Beach Energy aquired a permit for exploration offshore New Zealand
(Image via Beach Energy)

5. Beach Energy acquire offshore New Zealand permit

Beach Energy has acquired a 30% participating interest in a New Zealand offshore exploration permit through an agreement with OMV GSB. 

(EP) PEP50119 covers the Great South Basin, including the undrilled Tawhaki exploration prospect which is thought to have cretaceous reservoirs similar to the nearby Carvel-1 prospect, which Beach Energy operates. It has a structural closure area of up to 470km2.

Beach Energy will fund 30% of the Tawhaki-1 well cost and associated work programme in exchange for their share. Net capital exposure is estimated to be approximately $25 million.

“After undertaking extensive geological and commercial due diligence, we believe the Tawhaki prospect provides an attractive exploration opportunity,” said Matt Kay, CEO of Beach Energy.

“Tawhaki is one of three frontier exploration wells Beach will participate in over the next 18 months, the others being Wherry to the north of Tawhaki and Ironbark in the Carnarvon Basin. All three wells have the potential to add material resource volumes to Beach in a success case.”

ExxonMobil are increasing their exploration of the Eastern Mediterranean
(Image via ExxonMobil)

6. ExxonMobil signs exploration deals with Egypt

ExxonMobil has signed two deals with the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum for exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.Total investment in the two deals is estimated to be around $332 million.

The first agreement is for the North East El Amriya block in the Nile Delta, which the ministry has claimed will require a minimum investment of $220 million. The second is for the North Marakia block, located five miles off the northern coast, with a minimum investment of $112 million. 

The deals follow ExxonMobil’s acquisition of over 1.7 million acres of interests offshore Egypt. 

“These awards strengthen our exploration portfolio in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Mike Cousins, senior vice president of exploration and new ventures at ExxonMobil.

Tullow Oil struck oil from the Carapa-1 exploration well offshore Guyana
(Image via Tullow)

7. Tullow discover oil offshore Guyana

On the first day of 2020 Tullow Oil announced that their exploration well, Carapa-1, struck oil off the coast of Guyana.

Preliminary results of drilling, wireline logging, pressure testing and sampling of reservoir fluid indicate the discovery of oil in Upper Cretaceous age sandstone reservoirs.

The well was drilled by the Rowan EXL II jack-up rig to a total depth of 3,290 metres in 68 metres of water. 

"While net pay and reservoir development at this location are below our pre-drill estimates, we are encouraged to find good quality oil which proves the extension of the prolific Cretaceous play into our acreage. We will now integrate the results of the three exploration wells drilled in these adjacent licences into our Guyana and Suriname geological and geophysical models before deciding the future work programme,” said Mark MacFarlane, COO of Tullow Oil.

50 years of Oil & Gas recruitment

Fircroft has been recruiting engineering and technical professionals for the global Oil & Gas sector since 1970. Find out how we can help you secure your next job by registering with us for free today.

Recent Comments
I am civil engineer and I have 10 years experience in oil and gas EPC Projects. I am looking for a job position. Please guide me.
Siamak Mohammadi , 29 January 2020
Add new comment
By commenting on this blog you're agreeing to our terms of use

Comments left should relate to the subject of the above blog. Unfortunately job applications cannot be accepted here.

For job enquiries and applications please use our job search and for technical or account queries please contact us.
7 Oil & Gas discoveries and awards in January 2020 - Time to read 7 min
Share this article


Back to Top

By clicking "Save" you consent to
receiving matching jobs based on the
job/page you are viewing by email from
Fircroft, as detailed in our privacy policy
Fircroft would like to keep you up to date with our current vacancies and latest company updates via email. Occasionally Fircrofts marketing may contain 3rd party or affiliate information, however we will not share your personal data with any 3rd parties without your consent. From time to time, we might contact you to get your views on the service you have received. To help you get the best out of Fircroft, we may personalise them based on your location and how you use
Fircroft would like to keep you up to date with the latest company updates and vacancies via SMS / Text messages
Your consent options above means that Fircroft cannot contact you about any new or alternative career vacancies. If you want Fircroft to only contact you about the role(s) you have applied for please continue, however if you would like to be considered for other positions please allow us to contact you by changing one or more of the above consent.