Low oil prices and industry wide spend cuts have pulled the number of new oil discoveries down to a multi-decade low.

According to a Wood Mackenzie study seen by Bloomberg, the number of new oil discoveries in 2015 sank to the lowest level since 1947.

Upstreams discovered only 2.7 billion barrels last year and have only found 736 million barrels of conventional crude as of the end of July, according to the report.

Wood Mackenzie found that only 209 wells were drilled from January to August this year compared to 680 wells last year and 1,167 wells in 2014.

Those numbers are down from an average 1,500 wells global upstreams have drilled per year since 1960.

Upstreams have been cutting back on new projects as they look to control costs amid two years of low oil prices.

According to a report published by Wood Mackenzie, global upstream capital spend budgets have been declined 22 percent, or about $740 billion, from 2015 out to 2020.

The report, published in June, also found that when cuts to conventional exploration investment are included that figure grows to just over $1 trillion.

Wood Mackenzie estimated that total conventional exploration investment for 2015 to 2020 will be $300 billion less than the firm anticipated in 2014.

Rystad Energy senior project manager Nils-Henrik Bjurstroem told Bloomberg that the reserve-replacement ratio for conventional resources has plummeted to 6 percent this year compared to 30 percent in 2013.

The decline in new discoveries could put pressure on supplies in over next several years and exacerbate shortfalls caused by falling production levels.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. crude oil production slipped 6.6 percent year-over-year in June.

Lundin Petroleum managing director Kristin Faeroevik told Bloomberg it will likely take five to eight years to see the production impact caused by declining exploration levels.


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