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Noble's Sam Croft traverses waters offshore Suriname after exploring the Sapakara West-1 well Block 58. (Photo: Fircroft)

Stakeholders welcome 19th oil discovery in Guyana’s Stabroek block

Noble's Sam Croft traverses waters offshore Suriname after exploring the Sapakara West-1 well Block 58. (Photo: Fircroft)

ExxonMobil, Hess Corporation and CNOOC’s unrelenting prospecting in the Stabroek block offshore Guyana has yielded yet another oil discovery.

The joint venture partners today announced Guyana’s 19th offshore oil discovery at the Uaru-2 well, which will add to the country’s estimated recoverable resource to approximately nine billion oil-equivalent barrels.

Liza Destiny floating, production, storage and offloading vessel in Guyana’s offshore oil field. (File photo)

In separate releases, ExxonMobil and Hess said drilling at the well resulted in the discovery of “120 feet (36.7 metres) of high-quality oil-bearing reservoirs, including newly identified intervals below the original Uaru-1 well”.

In January 2020, ExxonMobil announced that Uaru-1 was the 16th discovery in the Stabroek Block after encountering approximately 94 feet (29 metres) of high-quality oil-bearing sandstone reservoir.

Officials from both companies have conveyed that this latest discovery will add impetus to their oil exploration and production activities in the area.

“The Uaru-2 discovery enhances our work to optimally sequence development opportunities in the Stabroek Block,” said Mike Cousins, senior vice-president of exploration and new ventures at ExxonMobil.

Mike Cousins (right), vice-president of exploration and new ventures at ExxonMobil, in discussion with then-minister of state in Guyana’s Ministry of Energy Joseph Harmon during their meeting in September 2018. (Photo: Caribbean Press Release)

“Progressing our industry-leading investments and well-executed exploration plans are vital in order to continue to develop Guyana’s offshore resources that unlock additional value for the people of Guyana and all stakeholders,” he said.

Great expectations

At the same time, CEO of Hess Corporation John Hess expressed an eagerness to have more floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels in the 6.6-million-acre Stabroek block in the coming years given the scope of all discoveries so far.

CEO of Hess Corporation John Cess (File photo)

“We expect to have at least six FPSOs on the Stabroek Block by 2027, with the potential for up to 10 FPSOs to develop the current discovered recoverable resource base.”

Production at the Liza-1 well reached its capacity in December 2020, one year after the joint venture partners agreed to its commencement. At present, ExxonMobil — the operator of the Stabroek block with 45 per cent interest— Hess (30 per cent) and CNOOC (25 per cent) are anticipating the start of production at Liza-2 by early 2022.

Come 2024, the partners expect to begin production at the Payara development, which should yield approximately 220,000 gross barrels of oil per day. And a year later, they will begin work at the Yellowtail and Redtail developments, pending government approvals.

A map of the Guyana-Suriname Basin showing oil blocks and wells. (File photo)

Guyana benefits

“These new projects continue to drive investment in the Guyanese economy. More than 2,300 Guyanese are now supporting project activities on and offshore, which reflects a more than 20 per cent increase since the end of 2019,” ExxonMobil noted.

The E&P outfit disclosed that since 2019, along with its key contractors, it has spent approximately US$388 million with more than 800 local companies in the South American country.

In response to the news of the discovery, Guyana’s Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat welcomed the development on behalf of the Dr Irfaan Ali Government.

Guyanas minister of natural resources with responsibility for the petroleum sector Vickram Bharrat (Photo courtesy of Guyana’s Ministry of Natural Resources)

He added that the Government “remains committed to the sustainable development of Guyana’s oil and gas resources to ensure that the benefit from this sector transforms all traditional productive sectors to enhance the lives of all Guyanese”.