EPA grants ExxonMobil permit for Yellowtail exploration; Liza Phase 2 to follow

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The Noble Tom Madden drillship will undertake exploration at the Yellowtail prospect, offshore Guyana.

Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday confirmed that an Environmental Permit has been granted to ExxonMobil Guyana for exploration drilling at the Yellowtail-1 well located in the Stabroek Block offshore the South American country.  A permit for the giant Liza Phase 2 Development Project is also expected to be granted soon, possibly within days.

Executive Director of the EPA, Dr. Vincent Adams told OilNOW, “the permit for Yellowtail has been granted. The company has been cooperating with our request.”

The EPA has been in discussions with ExxonMobil Guyana regarding the company meeting local insurance requirements that would allow for coverage in the event of an oil spill or accident related to its operations offshore. The discussions have delayed the issuance of an Environmental Permit for the Liza Phase 2 project.

Dr. Adams told OilNOW that the concerns the EPA had “are being ironed out.”

When asked if the issuance of the permit for Yellowtail is a signal that the approval for Liza Phase 2 could be imminent, Dr. Adams said, “That approval is expected soon,” signaling that this could come within days. “We will use the same language for the insurance for Liza Phase 2 which we used for Yellowtail. This language will be used for granting all permits offshore,” he stated.

When contacted by OilNOW, ExxonMobil Guyana Senior Director, Public and Government Affairs, Deedra Moe, said, “ExxonMobil can confirm that we have received the Yellowtail permit.”

Fresh off of its 11th and 12th discoveries announced last month, the company has been making preparations for the new drill campaign at the Yellowtail prospect located 6 miles west of Tilapia-1 .

“We think that is a really good region, a potential for us, and that’s actually where we are doing some 4D seismic to better understand the resource area and look at the potential long-term,” Moe, told OilNOW during an interview on February 6.

The company has to date made a record 12 discoveries in the Stabroek Block, amounting to more than 5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent.