Exploration and Production (E&P) is synonymous with the upstream oil and gas sector. Exploration refers to the search for oil and gas accumulation under the Earth’s surface, whereas production refers to the process of obtaining these resources. The main operations in the upstream industry are drilling exploratory wells, finding and evaluating potential reserves, and recovering and producing crude oil and natural gas and their derivatives.
Crude oil prices are a main driver of E&P changes and the fact that they have remained high in the last few years until recently, has significantly increased E&P activity. Rising capital expenditure, caused by the need for unconventional methods of hydrocarbon extraction, as well as technological advancements for enhanced recovery and better characterization of the uncertainty of the new discoveries, critically affects the E&P sector. Other key drivers are access to reserves in remote locations and conflicts between the business models and politics of international, national and public-private partnership oil companies (IOCs, NOCs and PPPs).