Offshore in depth
As the U.S. moves nearer each year to becoming a net exporter of oil and gas, it’s reasonable to raise the question, “What effect will that have on offshore exploration and production, both in the U.S. and internationally?”
To answer that question, we examine some of the conclusions that BP reached in recent analyses. First, there’s BP’s annual forecast of future oil and gas supply and demand, entitled BP Energy Outlook 2035.
BP projects that by 2035, the U.S. will not only be energy self-sufficient but will also maintain a position as the world’s top producer of liquids and natural gas. Here are some of their reasons for that conclusion:
But what does this all mean for the offshore sector?
It means that offshore—particularly deep water — will continue to be a key part of the global oil and gas supply picture going forward, even as import and export patterns change, as BP’s Dr. Michael C. Daly explained in a recent presentation at Imperial College. And, not surprisingly, he notes that technology will play a major role.
“Today, we are some 40 years into the deepwater era,” he said. “And although we are, perhaps, half-way through it in finding terms, deepwater exploration is a trend that will be with us for some time yet.”
Deep water, Dr. Daly says, will likely be followed by two very different trends, both of which are beginning to emerge. Dr. Daly forecasts, “Firstly, a move to the unexplored Arctic frontier of ice-bound continental shelves; and secondly to a re-exploration of the onshore and shallow waters of the world with new images, new technology and, occasionally, new ideas.”
The exploration themes underlying these new plays, he says, give us a clear indication of where deepwater exploration is headed:
Dr. Daly says that this tells us two things about future exploration trends: 1) go deeper, exploring down to the source rock; and 2) deltas are still delivering surprises. “In conclusion,” he says, “deepwater exploration has legs yet. Underpinning it will be ever-improved and cheaper seismic data: seeing beneath shallow gas, salt and basalt, and allowing the mapping and de-risking through porosity and fluid indicators. However, with the elevated activity levels of the past few years, a decline in success rates is inevitable, and the discovery of new plays ever more difficult.”
For the future of the U.S. oil and gas industry, the Chinese proverb, “May you live in interesting times,” seems to fit very well.
- Applying ultra-deep LWD resistivity technology successfully in a SAGD operation (May 2019)
- Adoption of wireless intelligent completions advances (May 2019)
- Majors double down as takeaway crunch eases (April 2019)
- What’s new in well logging and formation evaluation (April 2019)
- Qualification of a 20,000-psi subsea BOP: A collaborative approach (February 2019)
- ConocoPhillips’ Greg Leveille sees rapid trajectory of technical advancement continuing (February 2019)