Energy Capital & Power

Top Global Oil Discoveries in 2021

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Hydrocarbon exploration continues to enhance global energy sector growth. Notwithstanding notable oil discoveries made in Africa this year, global exploration campaigns have revealed sizeable oil discoveries, creating new opportunities for increasing energy access, ensuring energy security, and driving sustainable socio-economic growth.

Gulf of Mexico

Mexican state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos has discovered a potentially significant oil prospect in the gulf of Mexico. Estimated to be a one-billion-barrel oil field in Tabasco, the company is optimistic that the prospect will reveal similar hydrocarbon deposits to neighboring prospects Quesqui and Ixachi.


Italian oil giant Eni announced a sizeable oil discovery offshore Mexico with potential recoverable reserves estimated between 150 and 200 million barrels of oil. Made in the Sayulita Exploration Prospect in Block 10, the discovery comprises the seventh successful well drilled by Eni offshore Mexico.


Preliminary estimates from exploration activities in the Balder area of the southern Norwegian North Sea undertaken by Vaar Energi have revealed between 60-135 million barrels of recoverable oil reserves. The discovery not only holds high value for the regions energy sector, but demonstrates the future potential of the mature prospect.


Norwegian exploration company Equinor and its partners – Vaar Energy, Idemitsu Petroleum and Neptune Energy – made a significant discovery on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Exploration wells revealed between 75 and 120 million barrels of oil.


Wintershall DEA Norge has made an oil discovery in the Norwegian Sea, north of Norway and the Dvalin Field. Dubbed the Dvalin North discovery, Wintershall estimated recoverable reserves to be sitting between 33 and 70 million barrels of oil. In addition to the primary well, drilling revealed hydrocarbons in two shallower targets, with a combined reserve potential of between 38 and 87 million barrels of oil.


Equinor Energy AS has made another sizeable oil discovery in the Barents sea, Norway. According to the company, the discovery revealed approximately 31-50 million barrels of recoverable oil, with a possible tie-in to the Johan Castberg field.


ExxonMobil announced a significant oil discovery in the Stabroek Block, offshore Guyana. Located near the Uaru-1 well, the recently drilled Uaru-2 well revealed high quality reserves of oil, adding to previous gross estimates of 9 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The company stated that drilling of the Uaru-2 well revealed approximately 120 feet of high-quality oil-bearing reservoirs.

U.S. Gulf of Mexico

Global oil major Shell has announced an oil discovery at the Leopard prospect. Located in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the drilled well revealed more than 600 feet of net oil pay. Further evaluations are currently underway to determine specific potential.


PTT Exploration and Production Public Company has discovered oil potential in the Sirung-1 Block SK405B, offshore Malaysia. With drilling undertaken in January 2021, the company announced the discovery of sizeable oil reserves, revealing more than 328 feet of oil and gas.


Indonesia Energy Corporation has announced two consecutive oil discoveries in its Kruh 25 and Kruh 26 wells onshore Indonesia. With two of the three planned wells drilled, both revealing hydrocarbon deposits, the development field is expected to become an attractive oil prospect.

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Charné Hollands

Charné Hollands

Charné Hollands is the Deputy Editor at Energy Capital & Power. She holds a Higher Certificate in Professional Photography and Masters in Media Studies from the University of Cape Town. Charné writes content for ECP's website and events as well as co-authored African Energy Chamber: Road to Recovery.