Investing in Exploration to Find New Production Potential
The Exploration & Production business segment continuously strives to renew and develop its portfolio of oil and gas assets in often-complex environments.
The traditional method of adding new reserves, exploration consists of four main steps:
- First, seismic and geophysical surveys are conducted to evaluate the potential of the geological prospect.
- This is followed by an exploratory well to confirm the presence of oil or gas. If so, the geological prospect proves to be an oil or gas field.
- The data from the exploration well and the subsequent appraisal wells are then analyzed to provide a first assessment of the properties of the reservoir and the hydrocarbons it contains.
- Then, more detailed studies are performed to determine the feasibility and the profitability of developing the field. Based on the results, a decision is made on whether or not to launch the development of the field.
Exploration spending totaled $2.7 billion in 2012, an increase of 25% over the $2.2 billion invested in 2011. Several material discoveries were made, including in Argentina, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Azerbaijan, Nigeria and Norway.
A Promising Outlook
Thanks to the many development projects now underway, we are aiming to increase our production potential to 3 million barrels per day in 2017, compared with a production of 2.3 million barrels per day in 2012. Reaching this goal also requires minimizing the decline of the fields already in production.
The targeted production growth is supported by sustained investment, which stood at $18 billion in 2012, up 23% over $15 billion in 2011. This capital expenditure will allow us to bring on stream more than 25 new projects by 2017.