Although faced with its most challenging year to date due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. oil major ExxonMobil made significant strides in South America last year, extending its position across multiple basins off the continent’s northeastern coast.
“Despite considerable challenges associated with the pandemic, the upstream business matched its best ever reliability performance for the year,” said Steven Littleton, Vice President of Investor Relations. “We continue to progress active exploration programmes in Guyana and Brazil, and in the fourth quarter, announced a hydrocarbon discovery in Suriname which extends ExxonMobil’s resource position in South America.”
The company hit pay at the Sloanea-1 exploration well at Block 52 offshore Suriname in December. The well was drilled to a total depth of 4,780 metres using the Maersk Developer rig and encountered several hydrocarbon-bearing sandstone packages with good reservoir qualities in the Campanian section.
“We decisively responded to the unprecedented market conditions in 2020 leveraging our global projects organisation, we were able to defer spend and optimise projects to preserve the long-term value of our industry-leading portfolio,” Littleton told investors on Tuesday. “Improvements in upstream natural gas and LNG prices as well as increased liquids production in Guyana also benefited our earnings.”
Guyana was also able to earn around US$200 million in revenue from its 50 percent share of profit oil as well as from royalty payments. The government exported approximately 4 million barrels of Liza Crude last year.
Also commenting on the company’s 2020 performance in Guyana, CEO, Darren Woods said work on the Liza Phase 2 and Payara developments progressed on schedule.
“We progressed Liza Phase Two and Payara Developments in Guyana and continued our exploration success with three new discoveries, increasing the recoverable resource estimate on the Stabroek block to nearly nine billion oil equivalent barrels.”
The company announced the Uaru discovery at the Stabroek block in January 2020 and this was followed by more success at the Yellowtail-2 and Redtail prospects later in the year.