By Kiana Wilburg
Significant oil offshore Guyana is not all ExxonMobil is discovering. The American oil giant is also uncovering sizeable gas resources. This is according to Canaccord Genuity Group, the largest independent investment dealer in Canada.
In its 2019 report, the financial services firm said that gas resources being encountered by ExxonMobil are estimated at more than three trillion cubic feet in size. The group said that while the super major and its partners are planning to develop the oil resources, there has been no clear plan as yet on the commercialisation of gas in the near term.
For the time being, the gas found is being injected back into the reservoir rocks. Additionally, Canaccord said that the attractive economics of developing the oil resources offshore Guyana are much more superior to the current economics of producing the gas. It said, therefore, that companies encountering natural gas resources without the oil will be faced with a lack of commercialization options for the gas, thus having to declare their discoveries non-commercial.
Canaccord also noted Guyana’s long history of oil and gas exploration dates back to the 1750s when Dutch explorers mapping the area observed traces of petroleum.
But it was not until 1916 that first attempts to recover oil and gas were made. In this regard, Canaccord said that three wells were drilled in the Waini area of the North West District by Nelson Cannon, recording gas and pitch in one of the wells.
In 1926, one well was drilled on the West Coast of Berbice at the Bath Sugar Estate, recovering gas that was utilised for decades for domestic purposes.
Kaieteur News understands that the Rose Hall-1 well drilled in 1941, Drill-1 (by Shell) in 1967 and Karanambo1 (by Home Oil) in 1982 all had oil shows. However, robust efforts to locate petroleum deposits offshore actually commenced in 1958, when California Oil Company conducted first seismic surveys, followed by several other companies, which resulted in licenses being awarded.
Canaccord Genuity said that companies active in the area at the time included Conoco, Comoro, Deminex, Oxoco, Shell and Tenneco. It noted that drilling activity peaked in the late 1960s and tapered off in the mid-1970s. This newspaper understands that nine wells were drilled during this time, but only one of them encountered hydrocarbons.
Canaccord further stated that Shell’s Abary-1 well, drilled in 1975 on what is now Repsol’s Kanuku Block, had oil and gas shows starting at a depth of 2,978 m. It noted that the well also demonstrated the presence of moveable hydrocarbons and a good seal.
Over the following two decades, ExxonMobil, Total, Guyana Exploration and BHP continued exploration efforts, with no notable discoveries. This trend changed however in 2015 when ExxonMobil struck oil in the Stabroek Block. To date, it has made 14 discoveries, which hold over 6.6 billion barrels oil and gas resources.
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