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ExxonMobil, Total, Chevron and Kosmos Energy recognised at Wood Mackenzie's Exploration Awards ceremony

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Oilfield Technology,

US supermajor ExxonMobil has been named the upstream industry’s most-admired explorer, an accolade awarded in conjunction with Wood Mackenzie’s industry-leading annual Exploration Survey.

Mike Cousins, ExxonMobil’s Senior Vice President Exploration and New Ventures, accepted the award at the second Wood Mackenzie Exploration Awards ceremony, held in June 2019.

Dr Andrew Latham, Vice President, Global Exploration Research, at Wood Mackenzie, said: “For the past 11 years, Wood Mackenzie has named the industry’s Most-Admired Explorer after collating the results of our industry-leading annual exploration survey. The survey canvasses views across the sector, marrying Wood Mackenzie’s unparalleled in-depth understanding of the sector with industry opinion.

“We ask the question ‘aside from your own company, which explorer do you most admire?’. We don’t restrict the question to a particular time period or any particular sectors. But most voters clearly have recent success in mind when making their choice.”

He added: “We’ve looked closely at previous winners. If you want to win this award, you need to make big discoveries, ideally as operator and in ideally in new frontiers. For the first five years of this award, the same company won every year – Tullow Oil. Then we saw Anadarko win in each of the next two years. For each of the past three years, our winner was Eni.

“This year, our overall winner is ExxonMobil. Arguably, it’s a long overdue recognition given the tremendous successes across plays as diverse as Guyana, Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, Romania, Cyprus and many others.”

Four other awards were announced at the event:

  • Discovery of the Year (2018)
  • New Venturer of the Year
  • Best Explorer of Unconventional Plays
  • Best E&P Explorer

Discovery of the Year is also based on Wood Mackenzie’s survey of exploration industry opinion. Over 250 senior business leaders and experts voted for the discovery that they consider to be the most exciting of the year.

Dr Latham said: “2018 was a good year for exciting new discoveries – big finds, new plays, even company-makers. Our award goes to Santos and partner Carnarvon Petroleum for the Dorado discovery. The find, in the Bedout basin, looks to be the largest oil discovery in Australia for over 20 years. The runners-up were ExxonMobil’s Hammerhead in Guyana and Chevron’s Ballymore in the US Gulf of Mexico.”

The New Venturer of the Year award reflects the need for explorers to continually renew their portfolio. Wood Mackenzie has long argued that the capture of good acreage is the key differentiator in exploration performance. This award was based on Wood Mackenzie’s survey results and analysis of licensing and farm-in deals over the year. Both research and wider industry opinion reached the same conclusion. The winner is Total, who has made bold moves into high-impact opportunities across many different proven, emerging and frontier plays.

With the phenomenal growth of US shale plays, onshore exploration has become a key area of interest. For the Best Explorer of Unconventional Plays award, company efforts at opening and extending unconventional plays were looked at, again drawing on both survey results and research. The winner this year is a company that has recently announced huge upgrades to its production guidance from its unconventional assets. Chevron plans to grow organically in the Permian basin alone to over 900 000 boe/d by 2023.

The Best E&P Explorer award reflects the tremendous contribution the smaller and mid-sized companies make to the sector. The award is again based on a mix of research and a survey. Once more, both industry and Wood Mackenzie’s analysis reached the same conclusion. For the second year in a row the winner is Kosmos Energy.

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