US energy company ExxonMobil has started drilling one of two new exploration wells offshore Guyana. It’s the first of two wells to be drilled this month. The world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company said in a statement that the Stena Carron drillship is drilling the Haimara-1 well, located 19 miles east of the Pluma-1 discovery in the southeast Stabroek Block.
The development comes just over two weeks after ExxonMobil suspended its seismic data gathering activities in the northwest portion of the Stabroek Block, when a contracted vessel was confronted by the Venezuelan navy. The oil company says drilling and development operations offshore Guyana have been unaffected by the December 22 incident, which occurred more than 110 kilometers from the Ranger discovery, the closest of 10 discoveries made by ExxonMobil in the southeast section of the Stabroek Block.
The Noble Tom Madden drillship is expected to drill the second well, Tilapia-1, about five kilometers west of the Longtail-1 discovery. The Tilapia-1 well is located in the growing Turbot area.
“We continue to prioritize high-potential prospects in close proximity to previous discoveries in order to establish opportunities for material and efficient development,” said Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company. “Like the Liza and Payara areas, the Turbot area is on its way to offering significant development options that will maximize value for Guyana and our partners.”
ExxonMobil is progressing the Liza Phase 1 development, which has moved into its peak execution phase ahead of expected startup in early 2020. Drilling of development wells in the Liza field is continuing using the Noble Bob Douglas drillship, subsea equipment is being prepared for installation, and the topside facilities modules are being installed on the Liza Destiny floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel in Singapore.
Preparations are underway for the commencement of pipe-laying activities in the Liza field in the spring. The Liza Destiny FPSO is expected to sail from Singapore to arrive offshore Guyana in the third quarter of 2019.
ExxonMobil said the potential exists for at least five FPSOs on the Stabroek Block producing more than 750,000 barrels of oil per day by 2025.
Liza Phase 2 is expected to start up by mid-2022. Pending government and regulatory approvals, project sanction is expected first quarter 2019 and will use a second FPSO designed to produce up to 220,000 barrels per day. Sanctioning of a third development, Payara, is also expected in 2019 with start up as early as 2023.
ExxonMobil also plans to deploy a seismic vessel operated by Petroleum Geo-Services to the Turbot area to acquire 4-D seismic data similar to a 4-D campaign conducted in the Liza area in 2017.
The company operates the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana under license from the government. Its affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, is operator and holds 45% interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds 30% interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25%.