Jan 29, 2016 News
By Mondale Smith
Having been satisfied that Guyana does have oil several months ago, Exxon Mobil is once again preparing to drill yet another well close to the location where the first reserve was found.
The second well, for which drilling should begin in a matter of weeks, is to ascertain the width and depth of the reservoir, said Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman after a preliminary tour of the onshore materials holding area at the Wieting & Richter Ltd wharf leased by John Fernandes, on Water Street.
A ministerial team and ExxonMobil executives and other officials visited the Kingston holding area yesterday. They confirmed that the drilling vessel is already on spot off the coast of Guyana having arrived several days ago.
Minister Trotman and ExxonMobil Country manager, Jeff Simons, have assured that drilling will commence in a few weeks time.
“They are going to be drilling a number of wells within the Stabroek Block. The second well will be drilled in a few weeks’ time…before March,” Trotman said.
Aside from Natural Resources Minister Trotman, the other team members who toured the Kingston location were Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson and Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin, who have vested interest in the development of the Oil and Gas sector.
This project will ultimately entail construction, jobs and local content which will ensure that Guyanese are aware of what is happening and have share of all that is happening as it unfolds.
“HAVE CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM,” SAYS TROTMAN
“With these things, you have to have cautious optimism, not to get carried away…It’s good because its bringing jobs, more people have to be transported and housed and it also says that Guyana is headed into something new and better in the years ahead,” Trotman said.
That ExxonMobil is in Guyana making such major preparation shows the confidence that there is oil out there as the operation will cost millions of US dollars. “To float an exploratory rig into Guyana’s waters at a cost of close to US$1Million per day to maintain, is proof that they believe that there is something there and that we should all be expecting something good to come of it.”
When asked how soon before Guyanese will begin being employed in a major way, Minister Trotman said that the process takes time. This would include personnel being trained and educated on engineering, welding, and construction. In a matter of years Guyana and Guyanese will see the benefits.
Jeff Simons, ExxonMobil Country Manager, echoing cautious optimism about the second drilling said that his company is in the process of appraising the lesser discovery. All the materials currently at the holding location will be used to support the exercise in the Guyana waters.
“This well hopefully will give us a much better idea of the potential of the discovery.”
The first well was drilled about 110 miles offshore in the Stabroek Block. The second well is relatively close to that one, in what ExxonMobil hopes will be a different part of the accumulated area, to help better understand what the resources potential are.
When asked for clarity on how many more wells must be drilled before arriving at the level of actual business, Simons said, “We are hoping that if things come in as we believe they will, there will be a number of wells, and if we keep being surprised it may take just several more wells to be where we want to be.”.
Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson after the tour dubbed the holding site and progress being made as “quite impressive.” Noting that he has been pushing for more local cooperation and collaboration, he said that he is encouraged by the collaboration between local players Wieting & Richter Ltd and John Fernandes as well as ExxonMobil.
“We can’t be bypassed in this very important pre-oil production process. We are heartened by the technology moving apace which shows us the potential that the well has.” He said too that while ExxonMobil could have taken more time before pursuing further drilling exploration, he is encouraged and is optimistic that Guyana will soon see revenues being gained by the venture.
“Optimism grows even as a second well is about to be drilled. The next site visit is a few weeks away on board the vessel which as a precursor to drilling has to be anchored and lined up with the GPS system to ensure that it’s exactly on spot.”
The first well titled the Leezer 1 was drilled in May of 2015.
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