The Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference (OEEC) kicked off early in the morning on Tuesday, October 23, in Amsterdam RAI with a technical session named “Exploration in a mature basin.”
With energy demand high, investments in exploration and production in mature basins, like the North Sea, could be a way to bridge the demand gap. Worth noting, this was the first time mature basins were discussed at OEEC.
The session was moderated by Eric van Ewijk, the program manager of exploration at EBN, a Dutch government-owned company that invests in the exploration, extraction, and storage of oil and gas on behalf of the state.
This year’s moderator of the session was also last year’s speaker at the “Decommissioning” session which, coincidentally, was the kick-off session of OEEC 2017.
Dutch North Sea still underexplored
Van Ewijk introduced the first speaker, Annemiek Asschert, the deputy exploration manager of EBN which discussed the Dutch Exploration Initiative in a mature basin.
Asschert spoke of opportunities still found in the northern offshore, which she said was mostly underexplored. The Netherlands, although moving towards a greener future, still has to find ways to bridge the supply gap which will occur during the transition period.
She emphasized that the way to do so was to reshoot 3D seismic data, some of which dates back to the ‘70s. According to Asschert, new seismic can help produce additional 100-300 bcm still trapped in the Dutch North Sea.
In an answer to a question regarding eventual seismic reshoots, she said that there are no government-planned reshoots scheduled for next year, but there are plans in place for 2020.
Alexander Mollinger then took to floor to address unlocking the potential in a mature but still prospective basin.
Mollinger, the COO and founder of Discover Exploration, started his presentation with an interesting statement. “We are chasing elephants. Massive oil and gas deposits in offshore deepwater,” he said.
The company’s “elephants,” or so they hope so, are located offshore Comoros, New Zealand, and in an undisclosed location offshore West Africa.
But, as Mollinger said, the company’s staff started their careers in the North Sea and had returned to their roots with several plays off Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark.
“There is an unexpected revival in the North Sea. The new FIDs since last year gave the North Sea a second life,” added Mollinger.
He also said that Discover set a target to fill the supply gap in the Netherlands when its GEms prospect goes online. The FID, according to the COO, is expected in early 2019.
When asked to compare the company’s prospects in the North Sea and New Zealand, Mollinger replied that there was a higher chance of success in the North Sea while there was a higher chance for reward in New Zealand, but with significantly higher risks.
“We are betting on two horses…..or more,” Mollinger concluded.
New technology and data vital in mature basin
Then, the CEO of Tulip Oil Imad Mohsen enthusiastically described the way his company was developing its prospects in the North Sea.
His main point of conversation was that “not all mature basins were created equal.”
He claimed that most of the North Sea data was old and behind the times, years if not decades.
“The North Sea is a mature basin explored with 1995 technology,” Mohsen added. Also, some like Tulip’s Q10-A discovery had no 2D or 3D seismic but seismic shot on it by the company uncovered additional prospects around it.
“Seismic exploration lacking is the reason why companies left discoveries behind, underlining the need for new data.”
Inger Salomonsen, the exploration manager of Nordsøfonden Exploration, followed Mohsen and discussed opportunities remaining in the Danish North Sea.
According to her, Denmark has produced 3,9 billion barrels since 1972 but still has around 3 billion barrels in the ground. The session’s final speaker was Nick Ford representing EEGR.
Van Ewijk took the stage to close the session by concluding that oil and gas were still needed and exploration should start in areas companies know.
“The big guys are gone! But there is more oil and gas to be found!”
Offshore Energy Today Staff