Multiple new discoveries made in Guyana, but Hess says no update yet on new resource estimate

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Shikema Dey
Experienced Journalist with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry and a keen interest in oil and gas, energy, public infrastructure, agriculture, social issues, development and the environment.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hess Corporation, John Hess was asked by Doug Leggate from Bank of America on Wednesday when an update to the reserve estimate can be expected for the Stabroek Block. Hess has a 30% stake in the block with ExxonMobil as operator, holding 45%. China’s CNOOC holds the remaining 25%.

The last estimate pegged the resource estimate at 11 billion barrels of oil-equivalent. Several discoveries have been made since that time.

“We have a very active exploration/appraisal programme this year on the Stabroek Block. A lot of it in terms of appraisal especially in the Fangtooth area… I think the real takeaway is that we still see multi-billion barrels of oil-equivalent and at the appropriate time, we’ll consider increasing the resource estimate up greater than 11 billion barrels of oil-equivalent,” Hess said, speaking at the company’s Q2 earnings conference.

The revision of the Stabroek Block estimate to 11 billion barrels was announced in April 2022 with the announcement of three discoveries – Barreleye-1, Patwa-1 and Lukanani-1. Exxon – the operator – hit a combined 453 feet of hydrocarbon-bearing sandstones. 

The Seabob-1 and Kiru-Kiru-1 discoveries came in July that same year, with a combined 229 feet of “high-quality hydrocarbon-bearing sandstone”, according to information supplied by Exxon. 

Another double discovery was then made in October – Sailfin-1 and Yarrow-1 – to cap off what industry experts dubbed Exxon’s best exploration year. They added another 390 feet of hydrocarbon-bearing sandstone to the pool.

2023 came around and Exxon hit pay again at the Fangtooth SE-1 discovery in January. Hess made that announcement, stating that the well encountered “approximately 200 feet of oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs.” Hess even said the discovery “now adds to the block’s gross discovered recoverable resource estimate of more than 11 billion barrels.” 

Four miles off the Fangtooth-1 discovery, Exxon then found more oil back in April at Lancetfish-1; some 92 feet of oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs. 

Exxon’s CEO, Darren Woods, was also asked by investors for an update on the resource estimate in February. He said the company is awaiting a “material improvement” before a revision. 

There are only speculations about where the resource count stands now. 

With the first two discoveries of 2022 – Fangtooth-1 and Lau-Lau-1 – Norway’s Rystad Energy gave an estimate of 13.6 billion. S&P Global’s estimate was 15 billion barrels. 

What is clear is that the nine discoveries in 2022 were all high impact. Westwood Global Energy Group classed them as such, estimating that each amounted to more than 100 million oil equivalent barrels. 

And Fangtooth was the biggest catch of them all. So much so, the Stabroek Block coventurers are eyeing it as the 7th development.

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