Dateline 2016-12-14, The Star:
In the waters off Malaysia, Royal Dutch Shell is finding gas quickly and cheaply to replenish depleting fields where only a few years ago geologists had lost hope of discovering any new reserves.
The Anglo-Dutch group is combining the latest technology with the wisdom of industry veterans to unlock new oil and gas deposits where it already operates, usually within 20 km (12 miles) of existing platforms.
The result has been a string of finds which, while modest in size, can generate cash rapidly to suit an era of drastically reduced exploration budgets across the energy industry.
After a costly flop in Alaska, Shell has turned away from giant “frontier” projects, focusing instead on exploring closer to home, such as in Malaysia where it has been producing oil for more than a century. Many of its rivals are following suit.
“With new data, new seismic and new brain power you can find extraordinary amount of hydrocarbons for the future,” Ceri Powell, Shell’s head of exploration, told Reuters.
Analysts say the industry will still need large discoveries in areas where the risk of failure is greater, but the cheaper and easier approach is paying dividends in the short term.