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Exxon to carry out exploratory work in newly acquired Kaieteur block, drilling to begin at Liza-4 well

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US oil major ExxonMobil will soon begin preliminary exploration work in the Kaieteur block, an area adjacent to the Stabroek block offshore Guyana, which the company recently acquired. Drilling will also commence at the Liza-4 well in the eastern side of the Stabroek block this year, testing the upside potential of 1.4 billion oil-equivalent barrels.

Darren Woods

The company expects to develop the resource in multiple phases. The initial phase includes subsea wells tied back to a 100,000-barrel-per-day Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel with the potential to produce at sustained peaks of up to 120,000 barrels per day, CEO Darren Woods told investors during a presentation in March. Produced gas will initially be reinjected. Front-end engineering and design work is under way and Exxon anticipates reaching a final investment decision later this year. Start-up of Phase 1 is anticipated by 2020, less than five years after the initial discovery.

Woods said subsequent phases will incorporate experience from the initial development and allow for optimization as the company continues to evaluate Liza and explore nearby prospects.

In December of last year, Exxon discovered oil with the Payara well, drilled about 10 miles northwest of Liza. The company recently completed a successful well test of Payara that confirmed high qualities for both the reservoir and oil, similar to Liza. The delineation well expected to follow Liza-4 will help to fully characterize the extent of the Payara resource.

The success at Payara combined with the additional oil pay discovered with Liza-3 brings the total discovered resource on the block to somewhere between 1.4 and 2 billion oil-equivalent barrels.

“Just as we progressed rapidly at Liza, we’ll move quickly to develop Payara if the delineation well is successful. Drilling of the Snoek prospect, another stratigraphic trap on the Stabroek block is currently under way. Snoek tests the same play that has proven successful at Liza and Payara. Further exploration drilling on the Stabroek, which has multi-billion barrel unrisked potential will continue in 2017, guided by our proprietary 3D seismic program,” the CEO said.

Capture of the large Kaieteur block to the north was approved by the Guyana government in February, bringing Exxon’s total gross acreage across the Stabroek, Canje, and Kaieteur blocks to 11.4 million acres.

Woods said the company has 3D seismic acquisition planned later this year on the Kaieteur block. “We are encouraged by the results to date in Guyana and very excited about the future potential,”he pointed out.

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