–to begin exploratory, appraisal drilling at ExxonMobil’s Longtail-3 well
WORK in Guyana’s burgeoning petroleum sector is progressing expeditiously, with Stena Drilling’s DrillMAX sailing into local waters to commence exploratory and appraisal drilling at ExxonMobil’s Longtail-3 well in the Stabroek Block. Public and Government Affairs Advisor at ExxonMobil Guyana, Janelle Persaud, informed the Guyana Chronicle, on Saturday, that the vessel arrived offshore less than a week ago. The Stena DrillMAX joins the Stena Carron, the Noble Don Taylor, the Noble Bob Douglas and the Noble Tom Madden offshore Guyana. “It will begin with exploration and appraisal drilling of the Longtail-3 well in the Stabroek Block,” Persaud said.
Exploratory drilling is defined as the initial phase of drilling for the purpose of determining the physical properties and boundaries of a reservoir, while appraisal drilling is done when oil or gas has been discovered, in order to assess how much there is, how big the field is, the possible rate of production, and the properties of the oil or gas.
According to Stena Drilling, the Stena DrillMAX is a harsh environment dynamically positioned DP Class three drillship, capable of drilling in water depths up to 10,000ft. ExxonMobil, in June 2018, had announced the discovery of a high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoir at the Longtail-1 well. The well was safely drilled to 18,057 feet (5,504 meters) depth in 6,365 feet (1,940 meters) of water. It is unclear what the anticipated depth of drilling at the Longtail-3 well will be, but it was reported that the well will be spudded in March. The outcome of this exercise will see ExxonMobil and its partners, acquiring additional information on the Turbot-Longtail area. Chief Operating Officer of Hess Corporation, Greg Hill, was reported as saying: “Moving to April, we expect to spud the Uaru 2 appraisal well, utilising the Noble Don Taylor Drill Ship. Success here and at Mako-2 which will be drilled later this year could move the Mako-Uaru area forward in the development cue.”
Explorations will then turn to the Retail-1 well, which will be spudded in May. ExxonMobil is aiming to drill 12 -15 exploration and appraisal wells in 2021.
Current development activities at the Stabroek Block include the Liza Phases One and Two, and the Payara projects. ExxonMobil’s first offshore Guyana project, Liza Phase One, began producing in late 2019 well ahead of the industry average for development time. Liza Phase Two remains on track to begin producing oil by early 2022. Liza Phase Two will produce up to 220,000 barrels of oil per day at peak rates, using the Liza Unity FPSO, which is under construction in Singapore.
Payara is the company’s third project in the Stabroek Block and is expected to produce up to 220,000 barrels of oil per day after start-up in 2024, using the Prosperity floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres) with current discovered recoverable resources estimated at more than eight billion oil-equivalent barrels. The 18 discoveries on the block to date have established the potential for at least five FPSO vessels producing more than 750,000 barrels of oil per day by 2026.
ExxonMobil affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, is operator of the offshore Stabroek Block with a 45 per cent interest. Hess Guyana Exploration Limited holds 30 per cent interest and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds 25 per cent interest.
Guyana has so far earned over US$200 million from its petroleum sector. Those funds are being kept in the Natural Resources Fund (NRF), at the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank. Under the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), Guyana receives two per cent royalty and 50 per cent profit oil, which is what remains after the producer recovers the production cost.