Even as ExxonMobil continues assessments on the quantity of gas it has discovered, there are some industry experts which already have a fair idea of the resources that have been uncovered. Specifically, Wood Mackenzie, one of the leading firms on comprehensive petroleum data, noted in a report seen by Kaieteur News that over 7.7 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of associated and non-associated gas has been discovered across the block.
When invited to provide ExxonMobil’s estimates to date and how much it would cost to bring the gas to shore, the company’s Public and Government Affairs Advisor, Janelle Persaud said that evaluations of discoveries in the Stabroek Block are still being done. Persaud said, “It is important to note that the majority of the associated gas will be part of future liquids development, which is essentially reinjection for enhanced oil recovery.” Further to this, the official said that there are a number of factors that go into the cost of bringing gas t o shore while adding that the evaluation with the government is ongoing. She was keen to note that ExxonMobil has a gas working group with the government which is considering potential pipeline landing sites and other components of the project.
With no ready infrastructure or gas market in Guyana, Wood Mackenzie in its report assumed that any gas not used in-field for fuel purposes or flared will be re-injected. The consultancy group said that the gas re-injection can constitute an important enhanced-recovery mechanism but can have its limits. In this regard, it noted that full re-injection may result in gas recycling, increasing gas-to-oil ratio (GOR) with time. Ultimately, the company said that gas recycling will top the gas-processing capacity of the floating production storage and offloading (FPSO), consequently limiting oil production.
Wood Mac added that Brazilian pre-salt fields face similar challenges. It said that operators temporarily shut down wells with unusually high GOR and put spare wells in operation to sustain oil production rates. It said that this reservoir management strategy requires additional wells to be drilled in advance, thereby increasing capital expenditure (CapEx).
Wood Mac said, “It may become necessary to find an alternative means of disposal for this gas if re-injection capacity is limited.” In addition, Wood Mac said that two gas and condensate discoveries (Pluma and Haimara) have been made and they will require a long-term gas solution to be developed. It said that the government may also want to see the gas used in some domestic capacity.
In this regard, it said that options available to the government include bringing a pipeline to shore and having a floating Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) technology.
With respect to the former, Wood Mackenzie said that a pipeline could provide gas to supply the domestic market while noting that the most obvious use would be thermal power generation. As for the latter, it said that this is a monetization option that is becoming increasingly economic, with projects now operational in Malaysia and Cameroon. It said that the obvious market for cargoes is Trinidad and Tobago, which has a large industrial market for gas but is facing falling domestic supply.
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