The success rate of global conventional oil and gas exploration has declined in recent years, but the most painful blow has been to onshore wildcat wells, a Rystad Energy analysis reveals. In 2020, the success rate of these drilled wildcats plummeted to an all-time-low of 10.6%, marking an annual decline for a fourth year in a row. Meanwhile, the exploration success rate offshore Guyana at the prolific Stabroek block remains the highest in the world at around 80%, with multi-billion-barrel discovery potential remaining.
According to Rystad Energy, during the first half of the last decade, the operators enjoyed high success rates in their wildcat drilling campaigns, of between 40-60% for onshore and 30-40% for offshore. Both onshore and offshore wells have seen a decline in success rates in recent years but for onshore the drop since 2016 – when explorers recorded nearly 60% success with their wildcats – has been particularly alarming.