‘Hook, line and sinker’ is the phrase being used by Norway-based Rystad Energy to describe ExxonMobil’s spectacular start to the new year in Guyana where it made two more discoveries at the Stabroek Block, its most lucrative license offshore the South American country.
The Fangtooth and Lau Lau discoveries will add to volumes that have earlier been estimated at around 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe). In fact, the Norway group said its current estimate now rivals the volumes previously estimated by the United States Geological Survey.
“Rystad Energy’s initial view is that these two finds [Fangtooth and Lau Lau] together could hold over half a billion boe of recoverable hydrocarbon resources, bringing the total discovered volumes in the Guyana-Suriname basin to more than 12.5 billion boe,” said Schreiner Parker, Rystad Energy’s Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Both wells were optimally placed to target multiple stacked reservoirs of Lower Campanian and Upper Santonian sandstone. The wells encountered high-quality reservoir sections with net pay of 50 meters in Fangtooth and 96 meters in Lau Lau, according to Exxon.
“With numerous untapped prospects and more than a dozen wildcats lined up for drilling this year, the basin could be poised to exceed the current 13.6 billion boe estimate by the US Geological Survey,” Parker added.
In its analysis seen by OilNOW, Rystad Energy said the unparalleled success of the Stabroek block has turned the once frontier basin into a hotbed of exploration in just five years. During this period, explorers have become pickier when choosing exploration prospects with a stronger focus on chance of success, deliverability and costs – factors that all favor the up-and-coming basin as a core area for exploration and development globally.
“Before ExxonMobil’s breakthrough in 2015, Guyana had seen numerous wells drilled with little success. Through more than two dozen wells in Stabroek the operator has now boosted its operational efficiency and understanding of the reservoir characteristics, enabling it to drill more than 5,000 meters of sediments in 30-45 days, which in turn reduces costs significantly compared with many other ultra-deepwater wells globally,” the energy research and business intelligence company said.
The success has also spurred exploration interest in neighboring Suriname, which has a similar hydrocarbon system, and discoveries in Guyana’s Orinduik block haven given positive signals for the potential of deeper reservoirs that are yet to be explored.
The competitiveness of the Stabroek finds has enabled ExxonMobil to fast-track development and the partners are currently producing around 120,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from Stabroek. Output is set to ramp up with Liza phase 2 during the first half of 2022, followed by Payara and Pacora, for which a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel is currently being constructed by SBM Offshore in Singapore. The Dutch floater specialist is also performing front-end engineering and design work for an FPSO for the Yellowtail project, which is expected to be approved this year and start producing by 2025-26.