Field/project development

Exxon Seeks Approval for Sixth Project Offshore Guyana

The Exxon-lead consortium, which includes Hess and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation as partners, will present a field development plan to the Guyana government in October for the Whiptail field.

The FPSO Prosperity is seen under construction in 2021. The vessel arrived in April at the Payara field offshore Guyana to start producing oil at the Stabroek block later this year.
Source: SBM Offshore

Esso Exploration and Production Guyana has filed an environmental impact assessment (EIA) with Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop the ultradeep Whiptail oil project on the South American nation’s Stabroek offshore block.

ExxonMobil as operator, together with partners Hess and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), plan to invest $12.93 billion into Whiptail, its sixth Guyanese offshore project. The EIA covers a 20-year timeline that anticipates drilling of between 33 and 72 wells starting in late 2024 or early 2025, according to the EIA filing.

Development drilling would continue through mid-2030, with subsea components installed in water depths of 1600–2000 m, starting in the second half of 2025 or early 2026 as well as installation and commissioning of a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel that would start up in 2027.

The development includes the Whiptail, Pinktail, and Tilapia fields, according to a project summary filed with the government in December 2022 and is expected to boost the consortium’s crude output to more than 1.2 million B/D.

Guyana’s EPA published the environmental assessment on 21 August.

A week earlier, Alistair Routledge, president of ExxonMobil Guyana, announced at a University of London seminar that the company would submit a field development plan for Whiptail by October of this year, according to Guyanese media covering of the event, which targeted the country’s diaspora.

Guyana has emerged as the world’s fastest-growing new oil province in a decade with discoveries of more than 11 billion bbl of oil and gas.

Exxon and its partners currently produce more than 380,000 B/D on the Stabroek block from the Liza Destiny and Liza Unity FPSO vessels built by SBM Offshore. In early April, a third FPSO vessel, the Prosperity, arrived on the Stabroek block to develop the Payara field starting later this year, according to Exxon.

SBM Offshore also constructed the Prosperity; the FPSO’s initial production capacity is around 220,000 B/D, with an overall storage volume of 2 million bbl. Production from Prosperity is expected to push daily production to some 600,000 B/D in 2024, Exxon says on its website.

Location of the first six FPSOs to be positioned on Guyana’s Stabroek offshore block.
Source: Guyana EPA

In all, the consortium anticipates that up 10 offshore projects might ultimately be developed on Stabroek.

The Whiptail EIA is similar in scope to Exxon’s fifth project, Uaru, with output of 250,000 B/D and an upper production limit of 263,000 B/D. Exxon, Hess, and CNOOC committed to spending $12.7 billion for Uaru earlier this year.

“We now have sanctioned five major developments. … Those cumulatively amount to an investment commitment of well in excess of $40 billion,” Exxon’s Routledge told his London audience as reported in the Guyana Times. “You’ll probably appreciate the government’s budget is (only) a 10th of that. So, it’s a massive investment for the country.”

By 2030, the Exxon-lead consortium expects to have contributed around $10 billion in revenue to the state, Routledge said.