Sunday, June 26, 2022

‘Elephant Man’ got it right on Guyana’s multi-billion-barrel oil strikes

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Back when the first world-class Liza discovery was made in Guyana in 2015 it was not clear yet what this meant for the South American country and the basin where over 40 dry holes were previously drilled, and oil major Shell had just walked away.

During a visit to Guyana following the discovery, Canadian oil and gas consultant Rob Strong was adamant that the 800 million to 1.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent estimated to have been found at the Liza reservoir was just the tip of the iceberg, telling OilNOW the Liza discovery is like an elephant; and “elephants don’t travel alone.”

Strong had said at the time that while there have been wells that came up dry; the name of the game is patience.

“I would certainly not let the fact that there have been a couple dry wells drilled in the Guyana-Suriname Basin discourage any interest there might be. Along with many others including the United States Geological Survey, I am a firm believer that the Guyana-Suriname Basin is indeed a prolific basin which contains numerous opportunities for further development,” he said at the time.

Fast-forward to 2021 and U.S. oil major ExxonMobil has so far made a record 18 discoveries since 2015 amounting to approximately 9 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources.

OilNOW caught up with Strong this week for his reaction on having called it correct in predicting many more oil discoveries would be made offshore the South American country.

“Clearly, there was significant potential for a major oil producing area,” he said, referring the U.S. Geological Survey report that had identified the Guyana/Suriname Basin as the second largest prospect on or near the continent behind the pre-salt Santos Basin in Brazil. “Coupled with the use of enhanced seismic technology and vastly improved drilling capability, this steered me to make that “elephant” assessment.”

He further added, “In summary, a few factors drove me to say, “elephants don’t travel alone” meaning there is an amazing amount of oil and gas resource either discovered or about to be discovered offshore Guyana.” He identified these as follows:

  • favorable geological conditions
  • a world class operator
  • an aggressive private sector
  • a bureaucracy that continues to increase its industry knowledge, and
  • lots of luck!

“I wish Guyana continued success in their future exploration activities and in overcoming the many challenges that are inherent in developing oil and gas resources,” Strong said.

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