ExxonMobil makes ‘world-class’ find off Guyana

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ExxonMobil has confirmed a second major oil find in one of Guyana’s offshore blocks, suggesting that the country is not only set to become a major oil producer but may also emerge in the longer term as one of the Caribbean’s more significant economies.

On June 30 the company said that a second exploratory well located 193km (120 miles) off the Guyanese coast in its Stabroek block had proved to be a “world-class discovery” with a recoverable resource of between 800m-1.4bn barrels of oil. The type of crude discovered, according to the industry publication the Petroleum Argus, was of a light quality of 32°API beneath 5,551ft of water and at a depth of 17,963ft.

Liza-2 is the second such well drilled by ExxonMobil. In May 2015, the company said it had made a substantial oil discovery at its Liza-1 well, also on the Stabroek block, at a location about 3.3 km from the new find. The company said that it plans to drill a third exploration well, Skipjack, in July using the Stena Carron drillship that it used for Liza-2.

Commenting, ExxonMobil’s President, Steve Greenlee, said in a company statement: “We are excited by the results of a production test of the Liza 2 well, which confirms the presence of high-quality oil from the same high-porosity sandstone reservoirs that we saw in the Liza 1 well completed in 2015. We, along with our co-venturers, look forward to continuing a strong partnership with the government of Guyana to further evaluate the commercial potential for this exciting prospect.”

ExxonMobil has a 45% stake in the block, while Hess holds 30%, and the Chinese state-owned China National Off- shore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), through the upstream oil and gas company Nexen, claims the remaining 25%.

Industry reports suggest that the field, which could cost US$18bn to develop, is one of only a small number of such finds in recent years at a time when, unlike gas, significant oil finds have become less common. Some analysts suggest that the costs of developing the field would be viable at a world market price for oil of US$40 a barrel or less.

The implications for Guyana, if as expected the company proceeds to production, are substantial.


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