Offshore exploration in the South American country of Guyana is moving into another phase as UK-based Tullow Oil embarks on a drill campaign at the Orinduik block, making it the first attempt to find oil by a company outside the prolific Stabroek Block since the world class Liza discovery back in 2015.
“This is indeed a significant development and does offer the possibility for further de-risking and diversification of the deep-water zone,” Director of Guyana’s Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe, told OilNOW on Wednesday.
As recent as 2012, drill campaigns offshore Guyana on the Georgetown Petroleum Prospecting License (PPL) came up dry, as part of a decades-old attempt to find back gold in the basin with no success, although geologists had long suspected that there was a working hydrocarbon system.
The Guyana basin at the time was regarded as ‘high risk’ with very few companies willing to go the distance and invest millions of dollars in exploration, with little chance of success. Even Royal Dutch Shell walked away from its partner, ExxonMobil, concluding that the risk far outweighed the chances of a potential reward. Interestingly, the same data Shell was looking at the time it exited, is the same data used by Exxon that eventually led to the giant Liza find.
Tullow Oil and its co-venture partners are now poised to test the theory that a working hydrocarbon system exists outside of the multi-billion-barrel Stabroek Block. The company’s junior partner, Eco Atlantic Oil and Gas, has said the Orinduik block could contain as much as 4 billion barrels of oil.
Tullow will first drill the Jethro-1 prospect which is expected to be followed by a second well on the block named Joe.
“The Government of the Cooperative Republic wishes Tullow Oil and its Co-Venturers every success in this and their planned drilling exercise at the Joe well later this year,” Dr. Bynoe said.
Tullow, the operator of the Orinduik Block, has 60 percent stake, Total has 25 percent and Eco Atlantic has 15 percent.