Jan 13, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Oil supermajor ExxonMobil is planning for 10 Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels offshore Guyana. A statement by ExxonMobil’s Global Vice President of Deepwater Projects, Jayme Meier during the Rio Oil & Gas 2020 digital conference early last month confirmed projections made by analysts since August.
“We expect to have five FPSOs in operation in Guyana by 2026 and see the potential for a total of seven to 10 FPSOs,” Meier said on December 1.
It was Rystad Energy, an energy research and business intelligence company, that first made the projection. It said in August last year that ExxonMobil will be able to place one FPSO vessel offshore Guyana, every year for the next 10 years. The Norwegian Rystad projected that, to do so, ExxonMobil would be expending around US$50B in project sanctioning in the period. Exxon’s Meier gave no timeframe for the vessels.
John Hess, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hess, Exxon’s Stabroek Block co-venturer had floated the idea in October after announcing that the most recent analyses at the time had placed ExxonMobil’s 18 discoveries at nine billion oil-equivalent barrels.
So far, ExxonMobil and its partners have received approval for three major developments, Liza Phases One and Two, and Payara. The former has been producing oil since December 2019 using the Liza Destiny FPSO, while Liza Phase Two and Payara are scheduled for first oil in 2022 and 2024 using the Unity and Prosperity FPSOs. They are both under construction by Dutch FPSO-builder SBM Offshore in Singapore, and each have the capacity to produce as many as 220,000 barrels of oil per day. This will be a bump up from the Liza Destiny’s production capacity of 120,000 barrels per day.
ExxonMobil is already planning for its fourth development in the Stabroek Block, with the Yellowtail-1 discovery a likely contender. This was revealed by Hess in September last year. According to Westwood Global Energy, an oil and gas researcher and information provider, Yellowtail-1 is believed to hold more than 300 million barrels.
S&P Global, an energy information provider, said that Exxon’s successes in Guyana have generated interest in other offshore areas along South America’s equatorial margin, like in Brazil where Exxon has a portfolio of 28 blocks in multiple basins.
It said Exxon had held licences in Brazil before but left in the early 2010s after making no commercial discoveries. Now, it’s back.
Exxon also has multiple licences offshore Suriname, where it made a discovery just last month with a partner, PETRONAS.
Unlike these two countries, Guyana’s ability to keep up with ExxonMobil and other oil companies is a growing concern among some prominent political commentators and industry experts such as former Presidential Advisor on Petroleum, Dr. Jan Mangal. He has cautioned Guyana to develop its legislation and capacity to monitor before rushing into major oil developments.
Despite its under-prepared capacity, Guyana is rapidly approving field development plans (FDPs) submitted by ExxonMobil, which sum up to billions of United States dollars. At the rate it is auditing costs submitted by ExxonMobil for its exploration and development work, Guyana will not be able to efficiently scrutinise costs claimed by oil companies before time runs out on the country to challenge unreasonable claims.
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