Rystad Energy - Energy Knowledge House
Rystad Energy - Energy Knowledge House

press release

2021 global oil and gas discoveries projected to sink to lowest level in 75 years

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Global oil and gas discoveries in 2021 are on track to hit their lowest full-year level in 75 years should the remainder of December fail to yield any significant finds, Rystad Energy analysis shows. As of the end of November, total global discovered volumes this year are calculated at 4.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) and, with no major finds announced so far this month, the industry is on course for its worst discoveries toll since 1946. This would also represent a considerable drop from the 12.5 billion boe unearthed in 2020.

Liquids continue to dominate the hydrocarbon mix, making up 66% of total finds. Seven new discoveries were announced in November 2021, unearthing around 219 million boe of new volumes. The monthly average of discovered volumes this year now stands at 424 million boe. A reduction in cumulative volume highlights the absence of large individual finds, as has been the case in previous years.

“Although some of the highly ranked prospects are scheduled to be drilled before the end of the year, even a substantial discovery may not be able to contribute towards 2021 discovered volumes as these wells may not be completed in this calendar year. Therefore, the cumulative discovered volume for 2021 is on course to be its lowest in decades,” says Palzor Shenga, vice president of upstream research at Rystad Energy.

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The largest discovery in November 2021 was Russian group Lukoil’s Yoti West off the coast of Mexico, which is estimated to hold around 75 million boe of recoverable resources. The discovery strengthens Lukoil’s cumulative discovered volumes in the North American nation. However, these volumes are still insufficient for commercial development and would require further discoveries of a comparable scale before a development concept could be drawn up. These discoveries do, however, give hope to Mexico that the country can halt or slow down its production decline. Several wells are scheduled to be drilled in blocks offered in various bid rounds, many by leading international oil companies.

Offshore Malaysia, Nangka-1 became the second successive exploration well drilled within Block SK 417. The wildcat was drilled by Thai state operator PTTEP to a depth of 3,758 meters and discovered sweet gas within the Middle to Late Miocene Cycle VI clastic reservoirs.

Norway continues to unearth small-to-medium finds, providing an opportunity to materialize these discoveries with available infrastructure.

For more analysis, insights and reports, clients and non-clients can apply for access to Rystad Energy’s Free Solutions and get a taste of our data and analytics universe.



Palzor Shenga
Vice President, Upstream
Phone: +47 24 00 42 00

Elliot Busby
Media Relations Manager
Phone: +1 708 513 4214

About Rystad Energy
Rystad Energy is an independent energy research and business intelligence company providing data, tools, analytics and consultancy services to the global energy industry. Our products and services cover energy fundamentals and the global and regional upstream, oilfield services and renewable energy industries, tailored to analysts, managers and executives alike. Rystad Energy’s headquarters are located in Oslo, Norway with offices in London, New York, Houston, Aberdeen, Stavanger, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Bangalore, Tokyo, Sydney and Dubai.