Measurement and Testing

  • The Three Biggest Oil Discoveries of 2019

The Three Biggest Oil Discoveries of 2019

Nov 19 2019 Read 708 Times

While 2019 saw the oil industry hit with an onslaught of price plummets and supply issues, the year also saw some major discoveries come to fruition. Most were unconventional, a trend that reflects the changing face of the energy industry and the measures it's taken to overcome the shale boom and successive oil price collapse.  

Producers uncover 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent (bboe)

Oil prices may have dropped to the lowest levels seen in 70 years in 2019, but this didn't stop producers from discovering almost 8 billion bboe. This represents a 2 billion barrel drop from 2018 discoveries, a decrease that has sparked concern among analysts.

According to global energy consulting services and business intelligence data firm Rystad, new discoveries aren't stepping up to replace dwindling conventional oil supplies. Currently, the resource replacement ratio is a mere 16%, which suggests that just one in every six consumed barrels is being replenished by oil sourced in new discoveries. Producers are also facing geological challenges, with offshore discoveries meaning it can take years to bring new resources to the market. 

While the year isn't over yet, here's a glimpse of the top three producers.  


In 2019, Russian producers discovered 1.5 billion bboe. This was largely fuelled by the lucrative Dinkov and Nyarmeyskoye finds discovered in the Kara Sea by Gazprom. In terms of natural gas, this boosts Russia's supply to a huge 17 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). Rosneft, Russia’s state-run company has discovered oil in Arctic waters but is currently US$40 billion in tax cuts over the next 30 years to start extracting.


2019 has seen Cyprus uncover an estimated 8 trillion cubic feet of disputed gas. Once again, Exxon spearheaded a major offshore discovery worth around 5-8 trillion cubic feet. Unsurprisingly, the discovery has caused tensions with Turkey, with President Erdogan promising to send drill ships into the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).


In mainland South America, Guyana has discovered more than 6 billion barrels in 2019. ExxonMobil had a major role in directing the discoveries and launching the county onto the global oil and gas stage. Exxon has racked up an impressive 14 discoveries, while multinational Tullow Oil has also confirmed two major finds, including Jethro-1.

Other top contenders to watch as the last quarter of 2019 draws to a close are Suriname, a country on the Atlantic coast of South America, and the Gulf of Mexico.

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