20 December 2017, Singapore — Surveying the ocean floor for oil and natural gas reserves are gradually emerging from a multi-year slump, everywhere apart from Asia.
That’s despite Asia being the world’s biggest consumer of oil, having by far the strongest demand growth while seeing its production fall faster than anywhere else.
The reasons for Asia’s dearth in offshore exploration and production (E&P) include high costs in Australia’s promising waters, declining reserves in production hotspots Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as territorial disputes in the oil- and gas-rich waters of the South China Sea.
“We only have two 3D vessels in Asia-Pacific, since there are fewer opportunities and less activity in that region,” said Bard Stenberg, vice president at Norwegian offshore survey company PGS (PGS.OL), adding that most of his company’s vessels were in the Atlantic.
A 2017 and 2018 activity map by geophysical surveillance firm TGS (TGS.OL) shows the most activity in the North Atlantic.
A similar map by Bernstein Research showed the Asia-Pacific basin to have only four minor offshore developments of under 50,000 barrels per day (bpd). That compares to five major developments (above 50,000 bpd) and 11 minor ones in the Atlantic.
Asia’s dearth comes despite the region’s huge oil deficit, resulting from booming demand and declining output.
*Henning Gloystein, Gavin Maguire – Reuters