What area most intrigues petroleum explorers?
One insight into that answer is available courtesy of Fugro Robertson, which conducts its “International New Ventures Survey” each year. To execute the survey, confidential questionnaires are distributed to oil companies involved in E&P ventures outside North America.
The companies are asked to rate their level of interest in new ventures in 158 countries as well as in four frontier regions of the United States and Canada.
Country rankings are assembled and then analyzed to identify the determinants influencing their movement up or down from the previous year.
Egypt was ranked first for 2008.
Explorers’ interest in Egypt has been pumped up by 2008 licensing rounds.
Photo courtesy of Apache Corp.
The country captured the top spot, moving up from second place last year. It bumped the United Kingdom down to a tie for second place from the number one position it claimed in 2007.
Fugro Robertson noted that with six countries in the Top 10, Africa is the most popular region once again, with West Africa being represented by Gabon and Angola.
In 2007, Egypt produced 664,000 barrels of oil daily continuing its fall from a high of 950,000 bod in 1995, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in August. Yet, production was sufficient to prevent Egypt from becoming a net importer of oil as some had predicted.
Egyptian production and consumption of natural gas continue to rise with a total of 1.9 Tcf produced and 1.3 Tcf consumed in 2006, making Egypt a net gas exporter.
The offshore Saqqara field, discovered in 2003 and representing the largest new crude oil discovery in Egypt since 1989, went online last May.
Adjacent to the existing El-Morgan field, Saqqara reached a flow rate of 30,000 bod and is expected to reach a peak production of around 40,000 to 50,000 bod.
In early 2008 the government launched licensing rounds offering about 20 and 30 blocks.
As for the rest of the world, the biggest movers in the 2008 list was Thailand, jumping from 57 to 14; Vietnam, from 22 to the number six spot; Malaysia from 24 to 10; and India from 28 to 16.
Southeast Asia/Australasia is the second most alluring region.
Fugro Robertson noted that Norway, usually a strong performer, dropped from 12th in 2007 to spot 18, tied with Equatorial Guinea and Peru, which joined the top 20.