Chinese energy firm Cnooc’s discovery at Glengorm is the largest gas find in the UK since Culzean in 2008, an analyst has said.
Kevin Swann, senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said: “There is a lot of hype around frontier areas like west of Shetland, where Total discovered the Glendronach field last year.
“But Glengorm is in the central North Sea and this find shows there is still life in some of the more mature UK waters.”
He added: “This was third time lucky for Cnooc at Glengorm. Technical problems saw it try and fail to drill the prospect twice in 2017, so persistence has paid off.
“This is a good start to what could prove to be a pivotal year for UK exploration with several high impact wells in the plan.”
Glengorm continues a spectacular run of high-impact exploration success for both Cnooc and Total, ranked fifth and third in the world respectively, by exploration volumes discovered in 2018.
Andrew Latham, vice president for global exploration, at Woodmac, said: “Cnooc is a 25% partner in the prolific Stabroek Block in Guyana, where 5 billion boe has been found since 2015.
“It has also found over 1.5 billion boe offshore China since 2017.”
He added: “Total has reset its exploration strategy under new leadership since 2015 and it is now seeing much improved results.
“Over the past year, Total operated the large Glendronach gas discovery in the UK west of Shetland and is a partner in the giant Calypso gas discovery, offshore Cyprus, as well as the Ballymore find, a major oil discovery in the US Gulf of Mexico.
“Through its 20% equity in Novatek, Total also holds an indirect stake in the North Obskoye gas find, offshore Russia, the world’s largest discovery in 2018 with reserves of over 11 trillion cubic feet.”
Mr Latham said: “Exploration industry returns averaging 13% in 2018 were the highest in over a decade, driven by lower costs and a focus on drilling prospects with a straightforward route to commercialisation in the event of success. Glengorm fits this revitalised exploration model perfectly. It looks to be a valuable discovery that should help sustain the industry’s profitability into 2019.”