Oil & Energy
10 Most Incredible Oil, Gas Discoveries Of All Time
To date, Azerbaijan has oil reserves estimated at some 7 billion barrels and produces over 800,000 bpd. Most of this is exported as the country’s domestic consumption and is relatively minor due to its size.
The start of American oil
In 1859, a man named Edwin Drake drilled the first-ever oil well in America. According to historical sources, it was also the first well that was actually drilled instead of dug out, as oil seeping up into the soil had been extracted until then.
The Oil Creek at Titusville, Pennsylvania, marked the official beginning of the American oil industry. The first well was less than 70 feet deep, and it triggered a gold rush that would eventually turn the U.S. into the world’s largest producer of oil.
The first results of the new gold rush — the rush for black gold — came just a few years after Drake’s Pennsylvania discovery. Four months after the discovery, another adventurous gentleman, Lyne Taliaferro Barret, began looking for oil in the eastern part of Texas in an area called Oil Springs.
As sometimes happens, the timing was not the best. Barret had not yet discovered oil when work on the well had to be stopped for reasons such as the Civil War and Texas’ secession from the Union. It resumed after the end of the Civil War, and Barret struck oil in 1866. This was the first oil well in Texas.
The gusher era
If there’s one discovery that’s arguably more famous than those first two oil wells in America, that would be Spindletop: the first gusher. No more apt name has been created for one of the world’s biggest oil discoveries.
A geyser of crude oil erupted from Spindletop Hill in Texas on January 10, 1901, and the well ended up producing an amazing 100,000 barrels daily—a rate not exactly common in those days. If the Oil Springs discovery marked the start of oil in Texas, then Spindletop gave it the push that eventually made it the industry it is today.
Oil in the Middle East
The first oil well in the Middle East was not, as one might expect, discovered in Saudi Arabia. That came later. Oil was first discovered in Persia, today’s Iran, thanks to a Brit, William Knox D’Arcy, who’d got a 60-year concession from the Iranian government.
D’Arcy funded the operation, which started in 1903, while the drilling was done by George Bernard Reynolds—an already prominent petroleum engineer. The Masjed Soleiman field was discovered in 1908, and it reached peak production in 1928.
Amazingly, the field still produces to this day, but 2023 is expected to be its last year. The discovery led to the creation of what we now know as BP, one of the biggest oil companies in the world. Related: Analysts See Oil Prices Rising To $90 By End-2023
#6 The rise of the desert kingdom
Three decades after the discovery of the Masjed Soleiman field, American engineers from Standard Oil struck oil in the desert peninsula known as Saudi Arabia. It was 1938, and nobody knew that a new star was being born.
The Dhahran discovery turned out to be the biggest in history up to that point, and it changed everything—not just for Saudi Arabia but for the world. From a largely nomadic people unconcerned about world affairs, the country turned into the world’s biggest oil producer and kept that crown for decades.
At the same time, the Dhahran discovery marked one more step on the Middle East’s way to becoming the world’s major oil supplier. It was followed by discoveries of oil in Iraq, Kuwait, and the UAE, some of which remain the biggest reservoirs in history to this day.
#7 The South American oil jewel
The Bolivar Coastal field was discovered in 1917 by Shell and still remains one of the largest in the world. By 1958, the field was producing more than 1.4 million barrels daily, and its reserves were estimated at 11.1 billion barrels.
The field was the first dip into the Maracaibo Basin—a huge oil reservoir largely located under Venezuela’s Lake Maracaibo. The reservoir under the lake contains a substantial part of Venezuela’s total oil reserves, which are the largest in the world.
The last big ones
Most of the massive oil field discoveries in the world were made before the late 1980s. Since then, discoveries of huge fields have been negligible in terms of numbers. In fact, the only really big oil discovery in the last 30 years was the Kashagan field in the Kazakh section of the Caspian Sea.
The field has a maximum production capacity of 380,000 bpd, which was hit in 2019. Its development has not been free from trouble, cost overruns, and delays, but it continues to contribute a substantial part of Kazakhstan’s oil output.
Guyana and the future
Guyana’s rise to prominence as a new oil hotspot harkens back to the days of the big oil discoveries. Exxon and Hess have tapped an estimated 11 billion barrels in oil reserves in the Stabroeck block, and they still keep striking oil there.
Guyana’s current production stands at 360,000 bpd, which is double what it was less than two years ago. For 2030, production is seen topping 1.6 million barrels daily.
Oil Discoveries FAQ
The largest oil discovery to date is the Ghawar Field, located in eastern Saudi Arabia. It is estimated to hold up to 75 billion barrels of oil reserves and has been in production since 1951. However it’s worth, note that new discoveries and technological advancements could potentially surpass this in the future.
What was the first major oil discovery?
The world’s first major oil discovery was made in Pennsylvania, United States, in 1859. This discovery, known as the Drake Well, produced about 25 barrels a day and introduced the world to the potential of oil as an energy source. It sparked the first oil boom in the United States and was a precursor to the global oil industry.
Who first discovered oil in the world?
The first discovery of oil in the world is difficult to attribute to a single person or culture, as oil has been known and used for various purposes for thousands of years.
The ancient Sumerians, for instance, used asphalt to waterproof their boats, and oil seepages were used for medicinal purposes in ancient Egypt and China. However, the modern oil industry is considered to have originated in the mid-19th century, with the first commercial oil well being drilled by Edwin Drake in Pennsylvania, United States, in 1859.
What is the deepest oil that has been found?
The deepest oil well in the world is the Z-44 Chayvo Well, located on Sakhalin Island in Russia. It was drilled by Exxon Neftegas Limited in 2005 and has a depth of 12.376 kilometers (7.716 miles). It is known as an “extended reach” or “horizontal” well because it extends out more than 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) horizontally beneath the sea floor. The oil is located within the Sakhalin-1 project area in the Sea of Okhotsk, near the coast of Siberia.
By: Irina Slav
Slav reports for Oilprice.com
Oil & Energy
NPDC, Belema Oil Worst Gas Flaring Offenders In Feb – NNPC
Indigenous company, Belema Oil, Seplat and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, an arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) were the worst offenders in the oil and gas sector in gas flaring in February, 2023.
The three companies flared 100 per cent of their gas output, according to gas utilisation data released by the NNPC.
They were followed by Agip Energy and Natural Resources, which flared 95.93 per cent of its total gas output, and First Exploration and Production Limited, which flared 95 per cent of its total gas output.
The gas utilisation data showed that oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria produced 149.263 billion standard cubic feet (SCF) of gas in February, a 6.72 per cent drop, compared with 160.013 billion SCF produced in January.
A breakdown of the total gas output for February 2023 showed that associated gas stood at 107.702 billion SCF, while non-associated gas output stood at 41.561 billion SCF.
According to the NNPC, 93.52 per cent of the gas produced was utilised, while 6.48 per cent was flared.
Specifically, 139.589 billion SCF of gas was utilised in February 2023, dropping by 7.25 per cent when compared with 150.493 billion SCF of gas utilised in the previous month, while 9.674 billion SCF of gas was flared, up by 1.62 per cent, from 9.520 billion SCF flared in January 2023.
The NNPC stated that 9.084 billion SCF of gas was used as fuel gas; 45.977 billion SCF was allocated to the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG; while 5.247 billion SCF was allocated to the Escravos Gas to Liquid, EGTL, plant.
In addition, 2.353 billion SCF of gas was used for Natural Gas Liquids/Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG; domestic gas sales by the Nigerian Gas Company and others gulped 23.222 billion SCF, while 53.705 billion SCF was used by gas re-injection and gas lift make-up.
In the Joint Venture segment, Mobil Nigeria recorded the highest gas output, with 25.668 billion SCF, followed by Shell with 24.203 billion SCF; TotalEnergies produced 23.481 billion SCF of gas; while Chevron recorded gas output of 20.683 billion SCF.
However, despite producing the highest quantity of gas in the month under review, Mobil flared 6.26 per cent of its total gas output; Shell flared 4.19 per cent of its total output; Total Energies flared 2.37 per cent of its total output, while Chevron flared 9.03 per cent of its gas output.
In the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) segment, Star Deepwater – Agbami Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) produced 12.744 billion SCF of gas, out of which 1.06 per cent was flared; while TotalEnergies Upstream Nigeria’s Akpo FPSO produced 11.975 billion SCF of gas and flared 1.22 per cent of the total.
Oil & Energy
STRYDE To Deploy Seismic Receiver Nodes Onshore Nigeria
Seismic acquisition technology and solutions provider, STRYDE, has been awarded a contract worth over $1 million for the supply of 10,000 seismic receiver nodes and its “Nimble” node receiver system for an onshore oil and gas project in Nigeria.
STRYDE’s seismic sensor technology will be utilised on an upcoming 3D seismic survey conducted by Nigerian geoscience solutions provider, ATO Geophysical Limited, as part of an onshore oil and gas exploration project in Nigeria.
The seismic survey is due to begin in Q2 2023 and will be the first commercial deployment of STRYDE’s Nimble System in the country as it continues its international expansion within the energy sector.
STRYDE, who are the creators of the world’s smallest and lightest seismic node, will enable ATO to deliver high-density seismic data for the exploration of new reservoir locations in the grasslands and marshlands of Nigeria, for a local oil and gas operator.
Until recently, the country has typically relied on bulky, expensive, and complex cabled geophone receiver systems to acquire seismic data, which traditionally incurs significantly high CAPEX and OPEX costs, more exposure to HSE risk, higher technical downtime, and inefficiencies in the seismic acquisition programme.
With the introduction of cable-less receiver technology like STRYDE’s miniature sensor, geophysical providers and operators can now acquire high-quality data much more efficiently and with less cost, risk, and environmental footprint.
The supply of its node management solution will enable further efficiencies on the survey to be unlocked by allowing ATO to rotate up to 2,160 nodes per day, enabled by the system’s unique capability to simultaneously charge and harvest data from 360 nodes in under four hours.
This system is also equipped with STRYDE’s state-of-the-art software for efficient seismic survey field operations, data harvesting, and quality assurance, allowing ATO to produce processing-ready seismic data fast than ever before.
Head of Business Development, MENA, at STRYDE, Sam Moharir, commented on the transition to nodal technology: “ATO Geophysical Limited needed to have access to cost-effective technology that could also overcome challenges associated with the terrain they were due to operate in’’.
“With cabled systems traditionally being more physically challenging to deploy in remote, large, and complex terrain, STRYDE Nodes™ offer a more efficient and practical solution for improving seismic survey efficiencies through the elimination of restrictive and heavy cabled geophones”.
The Managing Director of ATO Geophysical Limited, Thomas Ajewole, said: “As a leading seismic data acquisition expert in Nigeria, we look forward to partnering on our first project with STRYDE and capitalizing on the benefits of its technology by providing our customers with a more efficient and cost-effective solution to onshore seismic data acquisition.
“As we continue to support the exploration of new oil and gas projects in the region, STRYDE Nodes present an exciting opportunity to acquire high-resolution seismic data required to image the subsurface and pinpoint new reservoir development opportunities for our customers”.
STRYDE’s CEO, Mike Popham, said: “STRYDE is excited to be enabling our first seismic surveys in Nigeria with ATO. This builds upon our successful history of seismic projects across Africa, including Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Kenya.
“We’re proud to see our nodes increasingly being utilized around the world for a range of industrial applications, replacing expensive, cumbersome, and impractical alternative systems with our dynamic technology”.
In addition to providing seismic solutions in the oil and gas market, STRYDE also supports new energy industries including Geothermal, CCUS, Hydrogen, and Mining, providing an affordable solution to a typically expensive phase of any exploration project.
Oil & Energy
NNPCL Clears $3.8bn JV Cash-Call Arrears Owed IOCs
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) says it has cleared the outstanding $3.8 billion joint venture cash-call debts owed to International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country.
NNPCL’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, Adokiye Tombomieye, disclosed this as he lamented that inadequate JV cash call funds was stunting the growth of the oil and gas industry.
Tombomieye made the disclosure while speaking during a panel session on upstream opportunities at the fourth edition of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF) 2023, organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Represented by the Chief Upstream Investment Officer, NNPCL, Mr Bala Wunti, he disclosed that the country’s oil production has maintained significant increase following measures to tackle crude oil theft.
Tombomieye warned that the NNPCL would no longer deal with portfolio companies, and urged investors to avoid acting as middlemen.
He disclosed that the company had leveraged its financial autonomy derived from the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to work out and execute a payment plan for the cash call debt while balancing its energy security obligations to the nation.
“This, by no small means, re-energised the JVs to recalibrate their focus towards sustaining production and increasing their spending to procure the necessary services required to do so”, the NNPCL Chief said.
Also speaking on the panel, the Managing Director of TotalEnergies EP Nigeria Limited, Mr Mike Sangster, announced that the final investment decision on the company’s upcoming Ubeta gas project would be taken in the first quarter of 2024.
Sangster, represented by the Executive Director, JV Assets, TotalEnergies, Mr. Obi Imemba, said Ubeta was its last discovered but undeveloped well in the Oil Mining Lease, OML, 58.
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