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Exploration and appraisal: Key wells 2014–2015
Enlarge image Exploration and appraisal: Key wells 2014-2015 for Conventional, Resources plays, Heartland, Frontier (world map)
Exploration themes
Exploration themes for Artic, Frontier, Heartlands and Near field – Time to development (years) and Indicative prospect size (million boe) (graph)


Our conventional exploration strategy aims to find new resources and mature these to projects that can be developed for production. This delivers short-term value and provides long-term options for Shell. Our investments are balanced between (a) exploration near our existing assets, which can be brought on stream quickly and generate high value; (b) testing new concepts and finding new resources within our existing heartlands; (c) building new frontier positions in under-explored areas with potential for >250 million barrel discoveries but that may take a decade or more to bring on-stream; and (d) capturing opportunities in more remote areas such as the Arctic but with even larger potential upside.

During 2013, we made new discoveries and drilled a successful appraisal in our heartlands of Australia, Malaysia, Nigeria, and in the Gulf of Mexico. We also made a new discovery in Albania and we are planning on appraising this discovery and are drilling an additional prospect in the region. Additionally, we made 19 discoveries near existing infrastructure that can be brought to production in the short term, with some of these brought on stream within a year of discovery. We added over 85,000 square kilometres of new conventional exploration acreage including licences in frontier areas such as the Turkish Black Sea, offshore Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, the Norwegian Barents Sea and offshore East Greenland as well as re-enforced our acreage positions in the North Sea, Egypt and the Gulf of Mexico. During the year, we also won a bid to join a consortium of companies to appraise and potentially produce from the giant Libra oil field offshore Brazil.

Resources plays

Shell has built substantial positions in tight and shale gas acreage as well as in liquids-rich shales worldwide. In North America our exploration activities are focused on finding the most productive acreage or “sweet spots” within our existing acreage. Internationally most of our portfolio is early stage exploration with our China acreage in the Sichuan basin being the most advanced. We will be testing basins in nine countries over the course of 2014 and 2015 including Argentina, Australia (Arrow), Canada, China, Oman, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the USA.

In 2013, we added resources through exploration drilling in LRS plays in Argentina and Canada. In Canada this was in the Duvernay formation where Shell is a leader with some 400,000 net acres. Also in Canada, we added resources to our Groundbirch asset. In China we continued to appraise our Changbei acreage adding resources in a tight-gas play within our existing producing acreage.