2021 could be busiest year ever for exploration at Stabroek block

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2021 is shaping up to be a significant period for exploration and appraisal operations in the Guyana-Suriname basin with targets at the prolific Stabroek block potentially making it the busiest year ever for drilling activities at that ExxonMobil-operated acreage.

More than 50 wells have been drilled in the basin in the past five years making it the most significant frontier for deepwater drilling since the world-class Liza discovery of 2015. ExxonMobil has made 18 discoveries at Stabroek and 1 at Suriname’s Block 52 while Apache and Total have so far racked up four discoveries at Block 58.

“It is a super-prolific source rock but complicated in terms of the fluid distribution. There is a lot of hydrocarbon, a lot of sand and a lot of traps, so it is an explorer’s dream,” says Keith Myers, President of research at UK-based advisory Westwood Global Energy Group. Myers’ comments were captured in an article published by Upstream.

“We are talking at least 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent in Stabroek and Block 58, of which we think about 70% is oil or liquids,” he said. “It is the biggest play to emerge since the discovery of the Brazilian pre-salt.”

ExxonMobil has said it expects to drill over a dozen exploration and appraisal wells this year at Stabroek alone which could see the resource estimate for the block even further increasing from the current approximate 9 billion boe.

“We expect to drill more than a dozen exploration and appraisal wells [in 2021] and several of those would be out with that core area in the southeast of the Stabroek block,” ExxonMobil Guyana President, Alistair Routledge told OilNOW.

Additionally, company officials said just last week the resource in the basin could actually be more than double what has been found so far.

“We are going to see a really busy year for exploration drilling in Guyana in 2021. It will probably be the busiest year ever on Stabroek, with Westwood expecting seven to eight exploration wells,” Westwood Senior Analyst, Jamie Collard, is quoted as saying in the Upstream article.

The southeastern area of the 6.6 million acres Stabroek block is where the bulk of the 18 discoveries have so far been made. Routledge said the company also intends to target wells west of these discoveries. So far, the Ranger well is the farthest the company has drilled in the northwest section of the block and is also the deepest well ever to be drilled at Stabroek.

“This is still a frontier exploration basin, very few wells have been drilled to give us a true understanding of the formation and the distribution of the resource in the rocks,” the ExxonMobil Guyana President pointed out.


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