Guyana mega discoveries, exploration potential shine at opening of oil summit

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Guyana’s oil basin took center-stage as the virtual ‘Guyana Basins Summit 2021’ opened on March 17 with presenters declaring that the nation’s vast hydrocarbon resources could propel rapid development of the petroleum industry across the Guianas in north-eastern South America.

As the event got underway with extensive participation by regional officials, stakeholders and investors, Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali emphasized that the summit is driven by high global interest in Guyana’s bright future as an oil-producing nation and the vast opportunities that the country’s economic transformation will unleash over the next decade and beyond.

“Guyana is set to become an economic and energy epicenter in the Western Hemisphere. It is also destined to emerge as one of the most diversified regional economies, providing a treasure trove of economic opportunities. The country will be propelled not only by oil and gas but by other sectors including manufacturing, knowledge services, health services, digital technology, agriculture, tourism, and aquaculture,” President Ali told the gathering.

The President also informed stakeholders and investors of the steps that his government is taking to boost the country’s economy by injecting monies into industrial diversification as well as massive infrastructural development.

He described the Guyana Basin as an important national resource. “In terms of endowment, we’ve estimated that the total basin potential is around twice our proven reserves. Economically, this is important and further solidifies our position in a lucrative, emerging petroleum state…

“We intend to maximize the many business opportunities that exist along the value chain of our fledgling petroleum sector and of course expand drilling, exploration and production activities in our petroleum sector,” the President pledged.

Referring to ExxonMobil’s 18 discoveries to date at the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana, estimated to yield at least nine billion barrels of recoverable oil, President Ali said, “The geological formation of the block makes it one of the most lucrative and prolific blocks in the world. This year, we expect an additional 10 exploration and appraisal [wells] to be drilled…our exploration rate has been quite successful at 80 percent with 18 discoveries.”

He also pointed out that the Liza Destiny Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel operating at the Liza Phase One development—the first oilfield to be developed—has already achieved its nameplate capacity of approximately 120,000 barrels of oil per day.

“Liza Phase Two—the second phase to be developed—is expected to commence production next year, 2022. By the end of 2027, we’re expecting at least seven FPSOs operating in the waters of Guyana with a daily production of well over a million barrels,” President Ali added.

Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat asserted that the Guyana Basin is now at the front and center of industry analysts’ and investors’ interest, mainly due to the significant and unprecedented rate at which ExxonMobil and partners, Hess and CNOOC, have made 18 significant oil strikes.

“The long-lost city of El Dorado appears to have been found, oil of course being the black gold of the extractive industry. El Dorado also appears to have placed its address across the border at our neighbour Suriname where the oil company Total and its partners have recently proven that there is more oil offshore Suriname,” he said.

The Minister stressed that while it is an exciting time, the countries in the Guianas must address their windfall with appropriate care and unlock and transform their economies through prudent investment geared to produce sustainable growth and prosperity.

Chief Investment Officer at the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), Dr. Peter Ramsaroop also addressed the Summit, noting that Guyana is one of the most exciting destinations for investment in the world. “Our GDP growth last year at 43 percent really demonstrated our ability to have a financially stable economy.”

Energy Industries Council’s Senior Regional Analyst for the Americas, Pietro Ferreira in his examination of the region also pointed out that Guyana has a very ambitious portfolio of FPSOs starting operations over the next few years. He noted that ExxonMobil and its partners envision at least 10 FPSOs at the Stabroek Block, with five units operating by 2026.

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