What Is Finding And Development (F&D)?

What Is Finding And Development (F&D)?

3 Min.

Finding and Development (F&D) costs refer to the expenses incurred in exploring and discovering oil (or other commodities) that can be extracted and sold. This includes activities like geological surveys, seismic analysis, and drilling of test wells. The ratio of money spent on exploration to the amount of commodity discovered can be used to calculate F&D costs.


Exploration and Development Expenditures encompass the financial outlays associated with the acquisition, research, and advancement of assets with the objective of securing reserves of commodities. Businesses in the exploration and development sector hinge on the discovery of resources for production and sale. These expenses are often referred to as finding costs and are intrinsic to the operational overhead of such enterprises.

Unraveling Finding and Development in the Energy Sector

The term "finding and development" holds significance across various commodity industries, but it predominantly finds its place in upstream operations in the oil and gas sector. Here, these costs are frequently expressed on a per-barrel basis. The calculation of finding prices involves tracking the expenditure associated with discovering additional reserves of commodities over a specific timeframe and subsequently dividing it by the quantity of reserves unearthed within that same timeframe.

F&D costs, on the other hand, are derived by dividing the expenses incurred during a defined period by the quantity of commodities unearthed within that very period. Oil measurements are typically in barrels, while gas quantities are often specified in cubic feet.

Oil Exploration: A Multifaceted Journey

The pursuit of nonrenewable resources through oil exploration and production involves a structured sequence of stages. These stages are as follows:

1. Exploration

This initial phase involves the search for subterranean hydrocarbons through geophysical methods, including seismology. Seismic waves, generated through surface vibrations, traverse the Earth to identify rock layers that encapsulate oil and natural gas reservoirs. Exxon Mobil Corporation, for example, conducts extensive exploratory operations in the Gulf of Mexico, spanning 339 deepwater blocks.

2. Well Development

Following the identification of promising sites, engineers determine the required number of wells and extraction methods. Cost estimates for platform construction are tailored to onshore or offshore locations, with designs that emphasize environmental protection. Advanced drilling technologies, exemplified in the Marcellus and Bennett shale fields of Pennsylvania and Texas, enable companies like Chesapeake Energy Corporation to extend horizontal well segments up to 5,000 feet from vertical wells, yielding four times the gas production at only double the cost of vertical drilling.

3. Abandonment

When exploratory sites become unproductive, or costs outweigh benefits, wells are sealed, and restoration efforts are initiated to return areas to their pre-drilling environmental conditions. In instances of declining natural gas prices, like in January 2016, numerous exploration wells were closed due to unprofitable extraction costs. The state of Ohio intensified its efforts in 2014 to plug nearly 600 orphan wells, which posed risks to surface water and aquifers.


Finding and Development (F&D) costs cover expenses related to exploring and discovering commodities like oil. These costs are essential for businesses in the Exploration and Development sector. They are often expressed per barrel in the energy sector, calculated by comparing exploration expenses to the amount of commodities found.

Finding And Development (F&D)
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