The Guyana-Suriname Basin is a vast expanse of deep to ultra-deep water with multiple play types where, despite ExxonMobil’s unprecedented success, exploration is still a high-risk venture. But Exxon’s 9 discoveries, which to date, amounts to more than 4 billion barrels of oil in the Stabroek Block, is a ray of hope for many companies looking to strike it big like the US oil major.
The Guyana basin and the wider Latin American extra territorial marginal trend has attracted enormous interest apart from the biggest players in the industry. An examination of who is present from Guyana all the way down the basin offshore Brazil shows that over 40 companies hold acreage positions. Industry analysts believe this is going to be one of the most active areas globally in terms of exploration activity over the next decade.
Speaking on a recent podcast, Ruaraidh Montgomery, Senior Corporate Research Analyst at Wood Mackenzie said, “The key question is can Exxon’s success be duplicated even partially across the rest of the play or is Exxon really…has captured a sweet spot. If you look at exploration results across the rest of the basin offshore Suriname and in recent years off shore Brazil, it’s a very different story.”
Montgomery reminded that the majority of wells in the basin have failed or turned up dry “and that really underlines that yes Exxon had this phenomenal world class success on the Stabroek Block but that’s no guarantee you are going to see the same success elsewhere in the Guyana basin and beyond.”
The Analyst said the basin is still a frontier high risk exploration plate, but nevertheless, ‘lots of activities are coming up so Exxon with its two rigs program will be leading the charge.” The Noble Tom Madden will be joining the Stena Carron in the Stabroek Block later this year as ExxonMobil ramps up its search for more oil in the South American country. The Noble Bob Douglas is working on the Liza Phase 1 development where first oil is expected by 2020.
Wood Mack is expecting to see wells going down soon in the Guyana basin from Repsol, Tullow, Kosmos and potentially Apachie and Pertronas. “On the Brazilian side we should start to see exploration from your Totals, Shell…and of course Petrobras coming to play in the medium terms,” Montgomery pointed out.