Exxon says still building momentum; 4th drill ship arrives this month, 5th next year

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With 14 oil discoveries since 2015, including four this year alone, ExxonMobil Wednesday morning said it is still building momentum, with its fourth drillship arriving this month and the fifth drillship next year.

“Taken together, this is an astonishing level of exploration success and project activity here in Guyana,” said Hunter Farris, Senior Vice President, Upstream Oil and Gas Deep Water, ExxonMobil.

“I can’t think of another country in the world like it, for ExxonMobil or any other company.”

Farris was speaking at the opening of the oil and gas exhibition and summit GIPEX at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown.

He said the company’s updated 2016 agreement with the Government has made it possible to develop the Liza field and continue exploring on the Stabroek Block.

Further, according to Farris, the company plans to move on the adjacent Canje and Kaieteur blocks next year.

Hunter Farris, Senior Vice President, Upstream Oil and Gas Deep Water, ExxonMobil.

The company’s future exploration comes as it presses ahead with plans to begin bringing up oil from Liza Phase 1, for which it and its partners will take the first portion of oil. The Liza Destiny ship, which is being used for the first phase of development, can bring up an estimated 120, 000 barrels per day.

Guyana is estimated to be able to sell its first one million barrels around March.

While that is happening, the second phase of Liza is also well advanced and the target for first oil on this phase is early 2022. The Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) for that phase, called, Unity, is being built

According to Farris, the FPSO uses a “design one, build many” approach that maximizes synergies and provides for the lowest overall installation and operating costs given the potential for additional future phases across the block.

He indicated that the company is hoping to bring online a third FPSO, called Prosperity, as early as 2023.

The company has submitted a field development plan and environmental impact assessment for this phase.

“We are committed to working with the government of Guyana to achieve a timely approval of the project,” Farris stated.

In a video address to the opening ceremony of GIPEX, President David Granger said Guyana will employ its petroleum industry revenues to strengthen the traditional pillars of the economy, extend and improve its infrastructure, diversify the economy along a green trajectory of development and enhance, further, its human resources and institutional capacity.

“These developments will catalyze tremendous business and employment opportunities,” he stated.

Over 100 companies, including local startups, are participating in GIPEX 2019; the first summit was held last year.

ExxonMobil’s booth at GIPEX

The Summit is a gathering of an elite group of experts from in and out of Guyana who represent oil and gas service companies and other stakeholders to engage in discussions and knowledge sharing that could lead to partnerships.

Owen Verwey, the Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Office for Investment indicated that participants will benefit from privileged information which would lead to the exploration of many opportunities as the country prepares to begin bringing up oil in about two months.

President Granger said Guyana welcomes further investment, both in the petroleum industry and in emerging green economy.

He said the government is keen to ensure conditions which encourage increased local content and which promote more partnerships between local and foreign investors.

At a time when there is robust discussion about a Local Content Policy to ensure Guyanese businesses benefit from the industry, none of the leaders of the two major business organisations in the country spoke at the opening ceremony, though they were listed on the programme.

“No one asked me, or told me,” said Gerry Gouveia, chairman of the Private Sector Commission, which represents the country’s biggest businesses, told the News Room. He is currently in the United States.

“I would have been honoured to speak,” Gouveia added.

“We weren’t invited to give remarks,” said Nicholas Boyer, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce.

Director of the Guyana Energy Agency, Dr Mark Bynoe, pointed to the opportunities available to Guyana with the advent of the sector must be grasped, but he said the government will be “laser-like” in its focus, not going for “quick wins.”

The President said the administration is being prudent about managing the industry.

“It is seeking the best advice and assistance and adopting the best international industry practices.

“It will establish a robust institutional legal and regulatory architecture to manage this industry in a manner which will ensure transparency and which will secure best interests of the country and fair returns for investors and businesses,” he stated.

Farris said the agreements that underpin its activity here have spurred investment in Guyana and continue to generate new investments “on a methodical, responsible timeline.”

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