Energy major Eni has been named the upstream industry’s most-admired explorer in Wood Mackenzie’s annual Exploration Survey, and scooped discovery of the year for its find at Baleine.
It’s the fourth time in seven years the Rome-headquartered group has secured the former award.
Eni made the Baleine find on the offshore CI-101 block off the West African nation last year. Resources at Baleine are estimated at 1.5-2 billion barrels of oil and 1.8-2.4 trillion cubic feet of associated gas.
Eni is the operator with a 90% stake, alongside minority partner Petroci (10%).
Wood Mackenzie’s director of energy research, Julie Wilson, said: “Even as we emerge from the pandemic, exploration has remained a dynamic and vibrant business and you can doubtless imagine many worthy winners.
“Eni’s giant Baleine oil discovery in the deep waters of Cote d’Ivoire is the largest find ever made in the country and is already heading for fast-track development. It’s a very well-deserved win and we look forward to following progress as the project moves forward.”
As of late 2021, Eni was working on a development plan for the field. It intends to sell gas from the discovery to the domestic market.
VP of energy research, Dr Andrew Latham, added that the Most-Admired Explorer award “canvasses views across the exploration sector, marrying Wood Mackenzie’s unparalleled, in-depth understanding with industry opinion. We ask respondents to tell us which explorer – aside from their own company – they most admire.”
“We see a clear pattern continuing, companies which win this award do so by finding big volumes of advantaged resources. The industry really admires operators that can successfully open up new frontiers.
“Our warmest congratulations to Eni’s deputy COO and long-standing exploration director, Luca Bertelli, and his team for a well-deserved win.
The energy research group also bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award on Dr Luca Bertelli, who steps down this year after a “stellar” 38-year career with Eni.
His tenure has included 13 years as global head of exploration during which time Eni has participated in discoveries with total gross resources exceeding 25 billion barrels of recoverable oil equivalent since 2009.
Tullow Oil was also the inaugural winner of explorer of the year in 2009, retaining the title through to 2013 before Anadarko secured success in 2014 and 2015. Since then, the majors have dominated the event, Eni’s previous victories were in 2016-2018, with ExxonMobil winning in 2019 and TotalEnergies in 2020-21.
Two other awards were announced at the event, including E&P Explorer of the Year, secured by Hess Corporation. This recognised its participation in the enormous run of giant successes in Guyana every year since 2015, that have transformed the company.
Meanwhile, NOC Explorer of the Year – QatarEnergy – has pursued a successful international exploration strategy of partnering with the majors in some of the world’s most prospective basins. Since 2019, these high-impact deep water wildcats have proved successful in Cyprus, South Africa, Guyana and Namibia.