Petroleum industry drilling in industrialized and developing areas

Natural Resources Forum



International drilling statistics show significant differences in target depths as well as the mix between onshore and offshore wells. Unlike the USA, where most of the drilling has been concentrated in depths to 5000 f (shallow depths), the preponderance of wildcat wells drilled in South America and Africa reach much deeper horizons. Offshore wildcat drilling represents less than 4% of total US wildcat drilling. However, more than half of the wildcat wells in Africa and two-fifths of the wildcat wells in South America in 1982 were offshore. In this paper, these differences are traced, in part, to the economic factors that drive petroleum exploration in these areas. Factors such as product markets, drilling costs (rig availability), product transportation systems, and business risk determine the minimum commercial size of hydrocarbon discoveries and the type of operator that can profitably develop discoveries:

The plan of the paper is as follows; first, drilling statistics and trends for several areas are discussed. After this, the differences in economic factors that account for the different patterns of exploration are identified. In the concluding section, some strategies are suggested to encourage development of marginally commercial oil and gas fields located at shallow depths

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Petroleum industry drilling in industrialized and developing areas
Series title Natural Resources Forum
DOI 10.1111/j.1477-8947.1985.tb01052.x
Volume 9
Issue 2
Year Published 1985
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Eastern Energy Resources Science Center
Description 7p.
First page 147
Last page 153