Tuesday, December 7, 2021

ExxonMobil back to full drill capacity at Guyana’s Stabroek Block

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Following a slowdown in drill operations offshore Guyana due to COVID-19 related measures, ExxonMobil is now back to full drill capacity at the 6.6 million acres Stabroek Block where it has so far discovered more than 8 billion barrels of recoverable oil resources.

The company had faced challenges with crew changes as a result of travel restrictions related to COVID-19 measures which had seen operations being suspended on two drillships. It has been working with Guyanese authorities to bring workers into the country with measures in place for appropriate screening and isolation before entering Guyana, while in the country, and after deployment offshore.

“We have been able to make adjustments to ensure our workforce remains safe as we maintain some amount of continuity, Deedra Moe, Senior Director of Public and Government Affairs, said. “Operations on two of our drillships, the Stena Carron and the Noble Tom Madden, which were temporarily suspended, are now back to full operations as we are able to increase the number of rotational offshore crew passing through our screening process.”

The Stena Carron and Noble Tom Madden will now rejoin the Noble Bob Douglas and the Noble Don Taylor in drill operations at the Stabroek Block.

Oil production cut to reduce flaring

On the Liza Destiny, the company continues to safely complete final commissioning of the gas handling system after facing some challenges in May.

“As we increased production in mid-May, we encountered some issues with the compressor system during a performance test. Repairs were initially delayed in order to observe travel restrictions and safety and isolation protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Moe said.

The official explained that key specialist technicians are required to repair the units but must first pass through travel restrictions and undergo a two-week COVID-19 screening process.   

“As we work to resolve the issues, we have reduced the amount of gas being flared by cutting crude oil production at the Liza Destiny. The issues encountered were unexpected, and we are working to have the equipment repaired as quickly as safely possible. Throughout the process, we have been in regular communication with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy,” she pointed out.

EPA head Dr. Vincent Adams had told OilNOW ExxonMobil was taking the necessary precautions by flaring after it countered challenges with the gas compressor. “It was a good thing they decided to err on the side of caution,” he indicated.

Moe said the company is taking the necessary steps to repair the equipment safely in order to complete final commissioning.

No routine flaring on Liza Destiny FPSO 

The Public and Government Affairs Director pointed out that ExxonMobil’s commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of its projects is reflected by its design of the Liza Destiny and Liza Phase 1 project. “Our operations in Guyana will not utilize routine flaring,” she stated, while pointing out that the company is currently still in the start-up period for Liza Phase 1. This involves temporary flaring to fully commission the gas compression and injection systems for safe operations as outlined in the approved environmental impact assessment and permit.

“The current situation is a temporary, unplanned event related to project startup. Across our operations, ExxonMobil has programmes in place to improve operations integrity, thus reducing downtime and upsets that can result in flaring,” she said.

The South American country has so far earned almost US$60 million from oil sales and royalty from its first crude entitlement and is expected to lift around 3 more cargoes this year.

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