LUKOIL Group carries out exploration in ten countries, concentrated mostly in Russia. Overseas exploration projects are focused on the Gulf of Guinea, Norway's section of the Barents Sea bed, Mexico, Iraq, and the Black Sea.
Exploration activities consistently yield good results. In 2016, the Company completed construction of 54 prospecting wells with an 87% success rate. In West Siberia, including the Bolshekhetskaya Depression, and in the Caspian Sea, 100% of prospecting wells were successful. The Company discovered 13 new fields and 71 deposits. We believe that our success is driven by advanced exploration techniques and selection of the most promising areas based on research results.
VOSTOCHNO-TAIMYRSKY LICENSE AREA
The Vostochno-Taimyrsky license area in West Siberia is our largest and most promising exploration project. A subsoil license was obtained in 2015 by LLC LUKOIL- West Siberia, the Company's subsidiary. A roadmap for the license area development was approved in 2016, with the Company having completed 1,891 km of 2D seismic surveys versus annual plan of 1,000 km.
One of the Company's priorities is further exploration in the Caspian Sea, given the potential synergies with major field discoveries made in the region earlier. In 2016, the Company completed the construction of Sarmatskaya-3, a 3,350-meter prospecting well at the Yu. Kuvykin field. As a result, the geological structure of the field's northern part was defined that led to an upward revision of the gas and condensate reserves. 200 square kilometers were surveyed with 3D seismic methods to define the geological structure of the field's southern part.
Construction of Khazri-1 prospecting well was launched to explore the geological structure of the southern part of the Central Caspian license area, identify potential reservoirs and evaluate their production potential.
KEY EXPLORATION PROJECTS IN 2016 BALTIC SEA
The Company has unparalleled expertise in the Baltic Sea operations, which allows to minimize risks associated with the development of new fields and shorten new project lead times. Proximity to export markets and own transportation infrastructure reduces the transportation expenses and improves cost efficiency of operations in the region. In 2016, the Company finalized its Exploration and Development Concept for the Baltic Sea based on the fields discovered in 2015.
In the reporting period, we completed the construction of 2,350-meter prospecting well No. 2 at field D33. When tested, the well produced a gushing oil flow. New drilling data made it possible to define the subsurface structures and location of the third prospecting well.
We approached the final stage of 3D seismic data interpritation, which will be used to update resources of the Baltic Sea fields discovered in 2015 and promising sites.
Most international exploration activities were concentrated in Iraq and Nigeria.
A new oil field Eridu was discovered at Block 10 in Iraq (LUKOIL as a project operator and INPEX CORPORATION holding 60% and 40%, respectively) following the drilling of prospecting well No. 1 with the depth of 3,168 meters. This field is the first large discovery made in Iraq for the last 20 years. The drilling activity revealed oil-saturated productive reservoirs in the Mishrif Formation. Tests on the Mishrif horizon in 2017 produced a low-sulphur oil flow at the rate of over 1,000 cubic meters per day. In 2017, we intend to launch drilling and testing of prospecting well No. 2.
In Nigeria, two oil deposits were discovered with the 5,601-meter Nsiko North-2Х prospecting well completed at Block OML-140 (LUKOIL – 18%, NNPC – 30%, Chevron as an operator – 22%, and ONG – 30%).
In Romania, 1,000 square kilometers of the Trident project seismic data were reinterpreted with the new drilling data to define the available resources and location of promising sites at Block EX-30 (LUKOIL as an operator – 72%, PanAtlantic.