In just seven years Guyana has moved from a frontier area to South America’s hottest new oil province and emerging energy hub, all as a result of an unprecedented series of discoveries made by ExxonMobil off the country’s coast since 2015. This follows decades of failed attempts by international oil companies to hit commercial crude, with over 40 dry holes drilled.
Now, Guyana is at the top of the list of South America’s most prospective areas, accounting for the lion’s share of major discoveries being made in the region.
“Looking at the period from 2017 to the year to date, South America takes top spot among all continents in terms of discovered hydrocarbons. This is mainly attributed to Guyana, which takes top spot in the region due to the plethora of finds on the prolific ExxonMobil-operated Stabroek Block,” Norway-based Rystad Energy said in a recent report.
Since 2017, the region has seen close to 14.5 billion barrels of discovered resources of which Guyana accounts for 65%, followed by Suriname with 15%.
Guyana’s remarkable journey has broken industry records for the fastest deepwater oil production ramp up which saw the Liza Phase 1 Development hitting first oil just under five years from the first discovery.
“In seven years, it’s gone from a frontier area to being one of the most prolific areas in the world,” said Liam Mallon, President, ExxonMobil Upstream Company.
Just over 100 miles off the country’s coast two massive floating vessels are producing oil, built and operated by Dutch floater specialist, SBM Offshore. Six drill ships are involved in a combination of exploration and development operations. All this is backed up by multiple supply vessels. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Already, two more oil production vessels are under construction with plans for a total of 10 in the coming years.
“… we’re creating a bourgeoning industry that would be unparalleled as we go forward,” Mallon said.
A landmark Gas-to-Energy project will utilise associated natural gas from ExxonMobil’s Liza field via a pipeline that will land onshore where a power generation facility will be constructed. The project is expected to last for at least 25 years and is anticipated to have a positive effect on the economy of Guyana as a result of more affordable and reliable electricity, development of industrial zones as well as increased local employment and procurement opportunities.
“This project will produce half the emissions than your current alternative for power and it will represent a huge shift from heavy fuel oil to a cheaper, cleaner, more reliable energy source…” Mallon pointed out.