Exxon’s 5th Guyana project targeting 3 of the world’s largest discoveries, totaling 1.3 billion barrels

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Kemol King
Kemol King is a journalist with six years of experience in Guyana's media landscape. He covers the oil & gas sector and its impact on the country's development.

ExxonMobil’s Uaru development is targeting approximately 1.319 billion barrels of oil, making it the largest project the company will be undertaking to date at the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana.

The projects already approved and sanctioned offshore the South American country were designed to develop approximately 450 million barrels from Liza Phase 1, 600 million barrels each from Liza Phase 2 and Payara, and 925 million barrels from Yellowtail.

The Uaru project will tap into the Uaru, Mako and Snoek fields in the eastern portion of the Stabroek Block. This is the first time the group will tie three fields into a single project. The two projects approved before, Payara and Yellowtail, will each tap into two oil fields. Payara, which is coming on stream in 2023, will target both the Payara and Pacora finds. And Yellowtail will tap into the Yellowtail and Redtail discoveries.

Based on estimates from Rystad Energy’s Guyana Upstream Industry Benchmarking Update published in July, the fields’ disaggregated reserve sizes are 529 million barrels at Uaru, 329 million barrels at Mako and 461 million barrels at Snoek. Rystad said these discoveries are among the 30 largest offshore discoveries made globally since 2015, sitting at 9th, 23rd and 13th positions respectively.

ExxonMobil’s design of the Uaru project is consistent with comments by the Corporation’s chief executive officer and chairman, Darren Woods, that the company is seeking to develop resources in a “cost-effective” manner by using bigger production facilities, among other mechanisms.

Consequently, the Uaru project could produce up to 275,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). Projects continue to increase in size as Liza Phase 1 was designed to produce 120,000 barrels per day, but was optimized earlier this year, now producing around 140,000 barrels per day. Liza Phase 2 and Payara were both designed to produce 220,000 bpd while Yellowtail was designed to produce 250,000 bpd. The Stabroek Block partners have said optimization work on the SBM Offshore built and operated FPSOs could see these volumes increasing.

As the fifth project, the field development plan (FDP) for Uaru is expected to be submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources before the end of 2022.

More than 7 billion oil-equivalent barrels of resources remain to be developed through other projects. ExxonMobil plans to have six floating production vessels operating in the Stabroek Block by 2027. John Hess, Chief Executive Officer of Hess Corporation, a 30% stakeholder in the Stabroek Block, said he hopes that by the end of 2023, the application for a production license for the sixth project will be submitted and approved.

Beyond that juncture, the partners see potential for 10 projects to be in simultaneous operation in the Stabroek Block, to develop the discovered resources.

ExxonMobil operates the Stabroek Block and has a 45% stake. CNOOC is the other co-venturer with 25% interest.


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