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Natural gas makes up around 20% of Stabroek Block discoveries – Alistair Routledge

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President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge, said on Wednesday approximately 20 percent of the more than 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources found so far at the prolific Stabroek Block, is natural gas.

“You’ll be familiar with the 8 billion oil equivalent barrels of oil that we’ve talked about as a discovered resource. About twenty percent of that…is gas,” he said. “But it’s not like a separate reservoir of gas. It’s mostly associated with what we would call a gas condensate reservoir. So, a lot of high API oil that comes with high amounts of gas.”

Wood Mackenzie has said lack of infrastructure for commercializing gas means reinjection is the likely scenario in the foreseeable future, even with some of the volumes discovered being piped to shore as part of a gas-to-power project currently being discussed between ExxonMobil and the Guyana government.  

“As discoveries grow, so does the importance of the question on how gas will be evacuated from the field. And for now, we assume that no gas makes it to market; it’s either use for reinjection or infield use given the lack of infrastructure or visibility on marketization plans,” Elena Nikolova, Latin America Upstream Analyst at WoodMac has said.

The ExxonMobil Guyana President pointed out that setting up the facilities needed for such a venture would require time since this would not fit into the ‘design one, build many’ model currently being used for the development of the Stabroek oil fields.

“We need a little more time. It wouldn’t fit the ‘design one, build many’ model that we’ve started with, for Liza Phase 2, Payara and likely the next projects; four and five. But clearly the resource is there, and we want to look at the optimal ways to develop that in the future,” he stated.

The primary use of natural gas from the fields at this time is for reinjection into the reservoirs which maximizes crude production. 

“The first and highest value of the gas is actually to re-inject it in many of the oil reservoirs to increase the amount of oil [produced],” he said, pointing out that this is an important first phase. “And so, although we have quite a significant amount of gas discovered, how much of that would be available without impacting the oil recovery over a period of time is something that we still have to evaluate…”

With 20 percent of the resources discovered so far being gas, this amounts to around 9 trillion cubic feet (tcf) which have been found so far offshore Guyana.

In comparison, neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago holds around 10.5 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves as of 2020, ranking 36th in the world. Trinidad and Tobago’s proven reserves are equivalent to 14.1 times its annual consumption. This means it has about 14 years of gas left (at current consumption levels, excluding unproven reserves).

ExxonMobil has said it remains engaged with the Government of Guyana regarding a proposed project that could see gas from the offshore Liza field being piped to shore. 

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