Third drillship to reach Guyana in 4Q. There’s room for 5 FPSOs in Stabroek block

Stena Carron drillship. Author: Ronnie Robertson

Following ExxonMobil’s series of oil discoveries offshore Guyana, the company is preparing to bring a third drillship to boost its drilling campaign in Guyana’s giant Stabroek offshore block later this year.

This is not news in itself, as Exxon has revealed these plans earlier when announcing the Longtail offshore discovery in June, however, Hess, Exxon’s partner in the block on Wednesday shared the expected timing of the drillship’s arrival.

According to Hess, Exxon is looking to add a third drillship in the fourth quarter that will operate in parallel to the Stena Carron drillship to explore and appraise the Block’s “numerous high-value prospects.”

Thee drillships in Stabroek block

This will bring the total number of drillships on the Stabroek Block to three – two of which will be exploring for new resources, while one is already being used for development drilling.

As previously reported, the Noble Bob Douglas, one of the two drillships currently in the block – is being used for development drilling for Liza Phase 1, for which ExxonMobil announced a funding decision in 2017.

Liza Phase 1 will consist of 17 wells connected to a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel designed to produce up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day. First oil is expected in early 2020.

Phase 2 concepts are similar to Phase 1 and involve a second FPSO with a production capacity of 220,000 barrels per day. A third development, Payara, is planned to follow Liza Phase 2.

As reported earlier this week, Exxon has lifted its estimate of gross discovered recoverable resources on the Stabroek Block to more than 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent, up from the previous estimate of 3.2 billion oil-equivalent barrels.

The number has, in part, been boosted by Exxon’s latest well – the Longtail – which encountered approximately 256 feet of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoir in what was the eighth significant oil discovery on the block.

The well is located approximately five miles west of the Turbot-1 well and Exxon estimates combined gross recoverable resources of Turbot and Longtail to exceed 500 million boe.

According to Hess, additional prospects to be drilled in this area could increase this estimate. The Stena Carron drillship will next drill the Hammerhead-1 well located approximately nine miles southwest of the Liza discovery.

Five FPSOs

The operator plans to add a third drillship in the fourth quarter that will operate in parallel to the Stena Carron to explore and appraise the Block’s numerous high-value prospects.

The Liza phase 1 development sanctioned in June 2017 is progressing. Development drilling began in May and construction of the floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) and subsea equipment is under way, laying the foundation for the first production of gross 120,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) by early 2020.

Phase 2 of the Liza development, which is targeted for sanction by the end of this year, will use a second FPSO with gross production capacity of approximately 220,000 bopd – startup for Phase 2 is expected by mid-2022.

Planning is underway for a third phase of development, which is targeted to be sanctioned in 2019 and will use an FPSO designed to produce approximately 180,000 bopd gross, with the first production in 2023.

According to Hess, 4 billion boe discoveries on the Stabroek Block have established the potential for up to five FPSOs producing over 750,000 bopd, gross by 2025.