Exxon Mobil said that it has discovered additional oil in the Payara reservoir offshore Guyana, increasing the total discovery to approximately 500 million barrels oil equivalent. The result increases the estimated recoverable resources in Guyana’s Stabroek Block formation to about 2.25 to 2.75 billion barrels. By way of comparison, the much-heralded Thunder Horse find in the Gulf of Mexico has reserves of about one billion barrels.
Esso Exploration and Production Guyana, an Exxon subsidiary, is operator and holds 45% interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration has another 30% interest, and CNOOC holds the remaining 25%.
Esso Exploration drilled the well, and Exxon reports that it encountered about 60 feet of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone in the Payara field at a depth of about 19,000 feet. The well is only 10 miles northwest of the funded Exxon/Hess Liza phase 1 project on the Stabroek Block, which is approximately 115 nautical miles offshore Guyana.
“Payara-2 confirms the second giant field discovered in Guyana,” said Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration. “Payara, Liza and the adjacent satellite discoveries at Snoek and Liza Deep will provide the foundation for world class oil developments and deliver substantial benefits to Guyana.”
Last June Exxon Mobil and its partners announced they had approved a US$4.4 billion project to develop one of the largest recent oil finds off the coast of Guyana. It's one of only a handful of major deep-water projects to move forward while oil prices languish below US$50 a barrel.
Wood Mackenzie, an energy research firm, believes the Liza field contains enough oil to break even at US$46 a barrel in Brent, the international benchmark.
Exxon, Hess and a major Chinese oil company believe the Liza field and surrounding regions, about 118 miles off the coast of the South American country, holds some 2 billion to 2.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
The project, which will include assembling a US$1.2 billion floating production storage and offloading facility and drilling 17 wells, could start pumping 120,000 barrels a day in 2020, the companies said. Wood Mac said in 10 years Guyana's Liza-Payara development could pump some 330,000 barrels a day.