Exxon, CGX & other companies in bid to get more oil from Guyana
By Vishani Ragobeer
Since 2015, there have been a string of profitable oil discoveries offshore Guyana and several companies, including those that already found oil, are seeking to find and potentially produce more oil here.
This was the common interest expressed by several stakeholders on Wednesday at the International Energy Conference and Expo being hosted in Guyana this week.
President of ExxonMobil Guyana Alistair Routledge, while providing an update on ExxonMobil’s activities in Guyana, said that the company is in its “final stages” of progressing plans for its fourth development project in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana.
That fourth project is the Yellowtail development; currently, the government is reviewing ExxonMobil’s development plan for the Yellowtail Development. This adds to ExxonMobil’s other projects in Guyana: Liza phases One and Two and Payara.
ExxonMobil started production at the Liza Phase 1 development located in Guyana’s Stabroek block in December 2019. Less than a week ago, production at the second offshore oil development- Liza Phase 2- commenced.
With production ongoing in both development areas, the company’s production capacity offshore has increased to more than 340,000 barrels per day. And Payara, Routledge said, remains on track for a 2024 startup.
Even beyond these developments, the company’s local President highlighted that the company is eyeing the “optimal sequence of development” to herald in yet another development- Uaru.
“As soon as we finish engaging the government on yellowtail, we will begin talking about Uaru,” Routledge stated.
During the recent 2022 Budget Debates, however, Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat also said that $88 million has been allocated for the review and evaluation of the Uaru field development plan.
With current estimates, the Stabroek block contains the equivalent of more than 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels- a substantial amount with further exploration still ongoing.
But ExxonMobil is not the only company advancing exploration and production offshore Guyana. There is also CGX Energy- a company that has been searching for oil offshore Guyana for more than two decades has finally found oil at the Kawa-1 well in the Corentyne Block.
Executive Chairman of CGX Energy Professor Suresh Narine told the conference that the company is approaching drilling at its second well, the Wei-1 well, with “a lot of excitement.”
Wei-1 is located in the northwestern part of the Corentyne block, just north of the Kawa-1 well and drilling here is expected in the second half of this year.
“For a basin to truly open up, everyone will tell you that multiple exploration wells will be required,” Professor Narine said, alluding to further oil exploration efforts by this company.
Still, other companies such as the Spanish oil company Repsol are keenly searching for oil offshore Guyana. Even onshore, there is renewed interest in the Takutu Basin which is located in the southern area of Guyana and part of Brazil.
Though Guyana remains committed to low carbon developmental efforts, the country’s Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo emphasised that the country is not turning away from its oil and gas pursuits because of developed countries.
“We are not going to get caught up with international prescriptive goals of sustainable development,” the Vice President said on Wednesday morning, however.
Explaining this, he said that these goals are far-removed from the realities of developing countries like Guyana which are in need of massive revenues to advance developmental efforts and citizens’ prosperity.
A day earlier, Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley echoed similar sentiments, arguing that the conversation on development and exploiting natural resources, particularly for developing countries like Guyana and others in the Caribbean, is complex.
Further, she reasoned that it is not a simple decision for smaller countries to abandon new wealth without first advancing citizens’ interests.