The oil being produced at the Liza Phase 1 Development offshore the South American country of Guyana is being described as ‘clean good quality oil’ by an expert in the field who said this, together with some other key factors put Guyana in an advantaged position.
Robert McNally, author of Crude Volatility and founder of Washington D.C.-based Rapidan Energy Group said crude oil can be heavy and dirty with a high sulfur content which diminishes its value or it can be very light “like champagne” with low sulfur.
“Guyana’s crude happens to be middle grade in weight and low sulfur which means clean right from the ground. So, it’s a perfect oil for making jet fuel and the products that are in very high demand,” he told a group of local business operators during a visit to Guyana earlier this year.
McNally, who served on the White House staff as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush on the National Economic Council and Senior Director for International Energy on the National Security Council, said while other key factors such as geographic location make the oil produced in Guyana a preferred product, it is the quality that ultimately enhances its marketability.
“So, I want to say again…it’s not just the amount, it’s not just the location, but it’s the quality of the oil that is very high,” he stated.
Light crude oil has low density and flows freely at room temperature. It has low viscosity, low specific gravity and high American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity due to the presence of a high proportion of light hydrocarbon fractions. It generally has a low wax content as well. On the other hand, heavy crude oil or extra heavy crude oil is any type of crude oil which does not flow easily. It is referred to as “heavy” because its density or specific gravity is higher than that of light crude oil.
ExxonMobil Guyana President, Rod Henson has told OilNOW that Guyana is blessed to have one of the better-quality crudes.
“Guyana is blessed with a relatively light crude. It is not considered a heavy oil. What that means is that heavier oils need more refining. Typically, the price that you get for heavier oils is lower – there is some sort of a deduct or penalty you get for having heavier crude. So, in general, the Guyana crude is a lighter, sweet crude,” he said.
Light crude oil receives a higher price than heavy crude oil on commodity markets because it produces a higher percentage of gasoline and diesel fuel when converted into products by an oil refinery.
The Liza Crude is categorized as medium sweet with a sulfur level of 0.51% and API gravity of 32.10 degrees.