The nearly 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent found so far at the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana may just be a scratch on the surface of what is emerging as one of South America’s most prolific oil and gas basins.
Chief Executive Officer of Hess Corporation, John Hess, said there is so much more discovery potential in the Stabroek Block that he considers the consortium to still be in the early innings of their exploration operations.
“We have plenty to say grace over and be thankful for,” Hess stated.
He made the comments earlier this month during Bernstein’s 38th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference in New York.
Hess is a 30% partner in the block, alongside CNOOC (25%) and ExxonMobil, the operator (45%).
“We’re already discovered 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent,” Hess said. “We think there are multi billion barrels remaining on top of it. So, we still think we’re in the early innings of this exploration opportunity… the largest oil and gas discovery in the last 20 years.”
Hess reminded that Senior Vice President at ExxonMobil Corporation, Neil Chapman said during an Exxon investor day event that the potential in the Stabroek Block could see the resource size doubling.
He went on to explain that most of the oil so far found has been at 15,000 feet in depth, in the upper Campanian. Hess said what the partners are seeing now is that there are similar sand channels at 18,000 feet which are starting to trap the oil that is also being trapped at 15,000 feet.
“Now that we’ve correlated the wells that we’re drilling for not only 15000 feet but 18000 feet and correlated it to the well logs that we have, we’re starting to find other attractive deep prospects,” the CEO told the conference.
He said with this comes a lot of potential in the deep for either tiebacks to discoveries at 15,000 feet into a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel, or for standalone projects.
The latter was demonstrated with the Fangtooth discovery which ExxonMobil made earlier this year. Hess said Fangtooth was optimally located at 18,000 feet with material deposits that could underpin another FPSO with high quality oil.
ExxonMobil has thus far made over 30 discoveries at the Stabroek block and plans many more exploration wells there. It also operates the Kaieteur and Canje blocks, where it plans to soon embark on a 12-well exploration campaign at each acreage.