With an average volume of 300 million barrels of oil equivalent per discovery and a record 80 percent success rate, the pioneering oil fields offshore Guyana, particularly at the prolific Stabroek Block, continue to deliver big pay with low breakevens.
S&P Global Platts said in an article last week that while Chevron is starting to make more waves in South America, ExxonMobil’s massive discoveries offshore Guyana and Petrobras’ surge of Brazilian pre-salt production are leading the way.
Entirely led by pre-salt oil growth, Brazil was the only crude-producing country in the Americas to report an increase in crude and condensate production in 2020 as global demand collapsed, the US Energy Information Administration said on December 6.
‘But it is Brazil’s neighbor, tiny Guyana, that has really emerged as a new oil player thanks to ExxonMobil’s 21 discoveries and counting in just six years within the Stabroek Block,” Platts said.
Speaking at the recently concluded 23rd World Petroleum Congress in Houston, Mike Cousins, ExxonMobil senior vice president of exploration and new ventures, said what is unfolding in the deepwater offshore Guyana is truly remarkable.
“The numbers are incredible. We’ve discovered over 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels in six years. It’s an incredible basin with over 20 discoveries,” Cousins said.
So far, only one of the discoveries is producing — Liza Phase 1, which came online in late 2019 and is now producing about 120,000 barrels of oil per day (b/d). But Liza Phase 2 development is slated to start up in early 2022 and a third development, Payara, should follow in 2024. Each of those is projected to produce 220,000 b/d. A fourth development, with an anticipated startup in 2025, would be the Yellowtail project with a production capacity of 250,000 b/d.
ExxonMobil Senior Vice President of Upstream, Neil Chapman, told investors in March that the billions of barrels of oil equivalent resources the company has discovered so far offshore Guyana is only the tip of the iceberg.
“It’s still early days in the programme but we continue to be very encouraged, and we estimate the resource potential of the basin to be more than double what we’ve already discovered,” he pointed out.
The southeastern area of the 6.6 million acres Stabroek block is where the bulk of the discoveries have so far been made. President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge has told OilNOW the company also intends to target wells west of these discoveries. So far, the Ranger well is the farthest the company has drilled in the northwest section of the block and is also the deepest well ever to be drilled at Stabroek.