Front end engineering and design (FEED) work has commenced on the Whiptail development project, ExxonMobil Guyana Project Manager, Anthony Jackson said Thursday.
The company had faced criticism several years ago when it was announced that a FEED contract was issued for a prior project before regulatory approvals. But Exxon had clarified that it is normal practice for early work to be done so the company has a plan to submit to regulators.
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“The reason that is required is we cannot come to the government of Guyana or the [Ministry of Natural Resources] or the [Environmental Protection Agency] with plans if we haven’t worked [out] some high-level plans about the project,” Jackson said during a Thursday public hearing on the Whiptail project. “So, this work that’s been done from an FPSO and SURF perspective is the study work and the analysis of the reservoir and the concept selection that enables us to make a proposal and to start on the process of building a field development plan…”
He made the comment during one of several hearings held by ExxonMobil on the Guyana coast to seek commentary and questions from the public on matters to be considered in the Whiptail Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
The study will be conducted by Environmental Resources Management (ERM), an international environmental and social consulting firm with extensive experience in the preparation of EIAs for offshore oil and gas development projects. The EPA requested the EIA as part of the environmental authorisation process.
Exxon is expected to submit the field development plan for Whiptail later this year.
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Whiptail will represent ExxonMobil’s sixth project offshore Guyana. It will target 40-65 development wells, with production levels expected between 220,000 and 275,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). A floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel will be used to produce the crude, with two million barrels of oil storage capacity. The project will offload crude to a tanker, every three to six days during peak production.
ExxonMobil has signed a memorandum of understanding with SBM Offshore, for construction of a multi-purpose floater hull.
First oil is expected between the fourth quarter of 2027 and the second quarter of 2028, for at least 20 years.