ExxonMobil Makes 10th Discovery Off Guyana, Lifts Resource Estimate by Another Billion Barrels

The Pluma-1 discovery could turn the southeast portion of Stabroek Block off Guyana "into a major new development area," the company says.

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ExxonMobil’s Pluma-1 well off Guyana encountered 37 m of high-quality hydrocarbon-bearing sandstone reservoir, marking the firm’s 10th discovery in South America’s newest oil powerhouse.  

Located 27 km south of the Turbot-1 discovery on the southeast portion of the 26,800-sq-km Stabroek Block, Pluma-1 was drilled to 5,013 m in 1,018 m of water by the Noble Tom Madden drillship, which spudded the well 1 November.

The major now estimates that its discovered recoverable resources for the block total 5 billion BOE, up 1 billion BOE from its previous estimate made over the summer, around the time that it announced its eighth discovery, Longtail, also on the southeast part of the block. Its ninth discovery came via the Hammerhead-1 well to the west.

ExxonMobil's offshore Guyana operations, which may eventually produce more than 1 million B/D of oil, best compares with the Lula-Iracema area in Brazil's deep waters, said research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. 

"With 17 prospects still to drill, Stabroek is writing Guyana's future," said Luiz Hayum, research analyst with Wood Mackenzie's Latin America upstream oil and gas group. "It will easily become the fourth-largest oil producing nation in Latin America by the next decade, with chances to outperform the countries preceding it. If Venezuela and Mexico fail to address production declines, Guyana could quickly surpass them to number two." 

Noble Tom Madden will next drill the Tilapia-1 prospect 5.5 km west of the Longtail discovery.

Pluma-1 is 27 km south of the Turbot discovery on the southeast portion of Stabroek Block. Source: Hess.


“Our ongoing work will evaluate development options in the southeastern portion of the block, potentially combining Pluma with prior Turbot and Longtail discoveries into a major new development area,” said Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company, in a news release.

Hayum said a potential 11th discovery at Tilapia and the Pluma, Turbot, and Longtail discoveries could eventually make up a fourth development phase consisting of a 220,000-B/D floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel. 

ExxonMobil thus far envisions its Guyana development program utilizing at least five FPSOs that altogether would produce more than 750,000 B/D of oil by 2025.

The first development project, Liza Phase 1, is expected to start up by early 2020 with the 120,000-B/D Liza Destiny FPSO. The development includes four subsea drill centers with eight production wells, six water injection wells, and three gas injection wells. The Noble Bob Douglas drillship is drilling those wells.

Liza Phase 2, expected to start up by mid-2022, will use a second, 220,000-B/D FPSO. Sanctioning of a third development, Payara, is expected next year with start up as early as 2023, the firm said.

The major’s first discovery off Guyana, Liza-1, was announced in May 2015.

ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana is operator of the Stabroek Block with a 45% interest. Hess Guyana Exploration and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana have 30% and 25%, respectively.