It’s in Exxon’s interest to show increased resources but they have to analyse the data – Jagdeo

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More than a year has passed since ExxonMobil last updated its estimate of the proven Stabroek Block resources, raising the bar to an impressive 11 billion oil-equivalent barrels. In the time since, there have been several significant commercial discoveries in the region, but curiously, ExxonMobil has refrained from revising its estimates upwards.

Recently, Guyana’s Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, was quizzed on whether the government has an independent estimate of the proven resources in the Stabroek Block. “When a discovery is made, you have to go through a number of steps in ascertaining the quantity. And so for me, it’s not a priority, frankly speaking, whether it’s at 11. It will happen, it’s just a matter of time…”, Jagdeo remarked.

He further noted the implications such a discovery could have for Exxon, saying, “It’s in their interest, Exxon’s interest, to show bigger reserves. It does affect them globally, their company that [is] traded on the [stock] exchange, too. But they have to go through a technical process. I suspect that’s all that’s happening now.”

John Hess, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hess Corporation, which holds a 30% stake in the Stabroek Block along with ExxonMobil (45%) and China’s CNOOC (25%), was also drawn into the discussion. When asked about an updated reserve estimate for the Stabroek Block, Hess mentioned a very active exploration and appraisal programme currently running in the region, specifically around the Fangtooth area.

He added, “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.”

Earlier in the year, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods was probed on a potential revision. He affirmed that “as the team continues to drill, quantify and characterise the results of the drills…when it gets to material improvement, we will talk about that.”

The discoveries made in 2022, according to Westwood Global Energy Group, are all high-impact (amounting to more than 100 million barrels of oil-equivalent). With the Fangtooth discovery being so significant that Exxon is mulling it for a standalone development and Project #7, Exxon’s 2023 exploration year likely yielded well over a billion oil-equivalent barrels. 

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