Stena DrillMAX drillship was used to drill the Sapote-1 well off Guyana for ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil strikes out on Canje block but new 12-well campaign on the horizon

Following two previous dry wells, energy major ExxonMobil has also failed to find commercial hydrocarbons in its third well located on the Canje Block, offshore Guyana. The company is now seeking environmental authorisation related to a new 12-well drilling programme on the block from next year.

Stena DrillMAX drillship; Source: Stena Drilling

The first two wells on the block, Bulletwood-1 and Jabillo-1, were drilled earlier this year and both came up dry. Hoping that the third time’s the charm, ExxonMobil spud the third well on the block, named Sapote-1, at the end of August 2021, using the Stena DrillMAX drillship.

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The Canje Block is operated by ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration & Production Guyana (35 per cent), with TotalEnergies (35 per cent), JHI Associates (BVI) Inc. (17.5 per cent), and Mid-Atlantic Oil & Gas (12.5 per cent) as partners. Westmount holds an indirect interest in the Canje Block as a result of its circa 7.2 per cent interest in the issued share capital of JHI Associates.

The ExxonMobil-operated Sapote-1 well was designed to test Upper Cretaceous reservoirs in a stratigraphic trap. The well is approximately 225 km northeast of Georgetown in 2,550 meters of water.

Westmount Energy informed on Monday that the Sapote-1 well on the Canje Block was drilled in 2,549 meters of water by the Stena DrillMAX drillship to a total depth of 6,758 meters. The well encountered non-commercial hydrocarbons in one of the deeper exploration targets, Westmount added.

In a separate statement on Monday, Eco Atlantic, which has a 6.4 per cent interest in JHI, said that the well recorded hydrocarbon shows while drilling, and in the logging sequence, in a deeper interval than anticipated, but had no shows in the upper primary objective horizon. Eco added that, with sidewall coring and wireline logging complete, ExxonMobil will now work to define the reservoir properties, including porosity and permeability, and the cored samples will be analysed for hydrocarbons.

Gerard Walsh, Executive Chairman of Westmount, commented: “Sapote-1 is the sixth well, offshore Guyana, that Westmount has participated in via our investee companies, since 2019. This portfolio of drilling outcomes has yielded three oil discoveries, but no standalone commercial success to date.

“While this outcome from the Westmount portfolio is below expectations the results to date provide encouragement and must be viewed in the context of initial ‘large step-out’ wells, in a frontier setting, evaluating giant stratigraphic prospects while seeking to establish the perimeter of the multiple play fairways both to the northeast and southwest of the prolific Stabroek Block.”

“The immediate focus of the Canje Joint Venture group now switches to synthesis, analysis and regional integration and modelling of the extensive multi-play data suite acquired during the 2021 drilling campaign with a view to highgrading and selection of the potential follow-on drilling targets on the block.”

Walsh said that ExxonMobil, as the operator of the Canje Block, has already submitted, to the Guyanese Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an application for environmental authorisation with respect to a new 12-well drilling programme on the block from 2022.

Elsewhere in Guyana, ExxonMobil last week confirmed the arrival of the Liza Unity FPSO on its Stabroek Block. As a result, the production from the Liza Phase 2 development is on track to start in early 2022.