More jobs — Exxon to expand workforce, already pumped US$100M into economy
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JEFF Simons, the Country Manager of ExxonMobil’s local subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, has said that Guyanese are already reaping the benefits of the developing oil industry.
In a presentation during the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GSMA) Awards and Dinner, Simons ruled out the prospects of constructing a refinery here, explaining that though there is a high potential of producing 100,000 barrels of crude per day within the Stabroek Bloc, it is not economically viable to build a refinery.

He noted that after a period of four to eight years has elapsed, the amount of barrels will reduce. “…you need more oil, you need a really big refinery to be competitive; and right now that doesn’t look like an attractive (venture),” Simons said.

Nevertheless, all hope has not been lost. In a detailed presentation, the country representative said though Shell backed out of the partnership with ExxonMobil during the earlier stages of the project, the discovery of the Liza well in the Stabroek Block was not only surprising, but is very attractive. ExxonMobil is now working in collaboration with Nexen Energy and Hess Corporation on the Liz well.

Simons said that efollowing the discovery, the company sought to have several seismic surveys done in the process of collecting seawater samples, geotechnical data and subsurface information. Simons pointed out that it was only in June 2016 that the second well was drilled.

“The second well has given us the confidence to be able to say ‘now we can do forward with the Liza Phase Development’,” Simons said, while further pointing out that the Liza well has the equivalent of a billion barrels of oil, meaning an accumulation of gas and oil.

As it gears up for production, Simons explained, a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit will be constructed for production of the 100,000 barrels per day.

Within the next two months, the company is hoping to submit its investment plan to the Government of Guyana, before a final investment decision is made by mid-2017.

“What we hope is that within the six months of 2017, that mid-2017, we are all on the same page and the approvals are in place, so that we can begin cutting steel and doing the fabrication for the FPSO,” he explained. Production is anticipated to be in full swing by 2020.

However, in clearing up a perceived misconception, Simons told those present at the GMSA Awards and Dinner that Guyanese have already been benefiting from the developing sector.

He said there is a common “misconception that we don’t want to have local content, and we want to bring people; but that is definitely what we don’t want to do”.

It was pointed out that ExxonMobil operates in 50 countries, and in all of these countries the operations are dominated by locals. “The same thing will happen here as well,” the country representative assured.

To date, he said, the company has pumped US$700M into the project, with US$100M spent locally. In the 3rd quarterly report submitted to the Government, he said, it was indicated that 670 persons were working on the project here, 325 of whom were Guyanese. Additionally, it was pointed out that the company would have received invoices from 115 Guyanese suppliers, who have been supplying fuel, food, accommodation, security, waste management, medical and aviation services. “The local content is going to expand,” he further assured.

In submitting its development plan, Simons said, the company would also submit a local content plan to indicate how Guyanese will benefit.
“We need to work with our contractors and Government to develop the training apprenticeships and curriculum in the local institutions that will support the skills and talents that we need,” he said.

Earlier this month, ExxonMobil officially gave Government notice of its find of commercial quantities of oil here. The notification is required by Section 31 of the Petroleum Act.

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