Sixth drillship arrives in Guyana’s waters
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The Noble Sam Croft drillship [Photo courtesy of Noble Sam Croft]
The Noble Sam Croft drillship [Photo courtesy of Noble Sam Croft]

–awaiting additional resources to commence drilling

GUYANA’S waters is now home to six drill ships, with the recent arrival of Noble Corporation’s Sam Croft, which will be servicing the operations of global oil giant, ExxonMobil, and its affiliates.

The Guyana Chronicle was reliably informed that the vessel arrived recently in Guyana’s waters and is currently at a staging area within the Stabroek Block of Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Simply put, the vessel is awaiting additional resources before it commences exploratory and appraisal drilling at the Stabroek Block. According to an advertisement published on March 26, 2021, in the Stabroek News, ahead of the vessel’s arrival, the Sam Croft will be at the staging area until April 15, 2021.

The arrival of this drillship follows the entry of Stena Drilling’s DrillMAX, which sailed into local waters in February to commence exploratory and appraisal drilling at ExxonMobil’s Longtail-3 well in the Stabroek Block.

The Sam Croft has a gross tonnage of 50,940 and deadweight of 41,000. The vessel’s drilling depth is 40,000ft. In addition to the DrillMAX, the sixth vessel joins the Stena Carron, the Noble Don Taylor, the Noble Bob Douglas and the Noble Tom Madden offshore Guyana.

It is unclear, at this time, which well(s) will be drilled by the new vessel, but the Guyana Chronicle understands that 16 exploration wells are planned for this year. And, ExxonMobil, operator of the Stabroek, Canje and Kaieteur blocks offshore Guyana will be spearheading the local exploration activities, having already set an ambitious divestment target of $15 billion by expelling mature assets in Asia, Europe and Africa, so as to prioritise investments in “high-value” assets such as Stabroek.

The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometers), with current discovered recoverable resources estimated at more than nine billion oil-equivalent barrels.
The 18 discoveries on the block to date have established the potential for at least five floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels, producing more than 750,000 barrels of oil per day by 2026.

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.

Data from Norwegian independent energy research and business intelligence firm, Rystad Energy, suggests that close to 300 million barrels of oil equivalent has been discovered on average for each exploration well (wildcat and appraisal) drilled in the country over the past six years.
This aside, with around 16 exploration wells planned, including some in riskier frontier regions, 2021 holds a lot of promise, Rystad Energy said.

The energy research firm believes that drilling results will be eagerly watched by the services industry, as more exploration success off Guyana would translate into welcomed opportunities after the market slump of 2020.

The country’s oil-and-gas-sector is already pumping finances into its Natural Resources Fund (NRF), with some US$61,090,968 (approximately G$13B) being earned from the sale of the nation’s fifth oil lift. The Government, in keeping with its commitment to accountability and transparency in the petroleum sector, has announced that the country received its latest payment after the sale of 997,420 barrels of oil which were lifted from ExxonMobil’s Liza Destiny on February 5, 2021.

The nation, new to the petroleum sector, sold its first one million barrels of crude on February 19, 2020, raking in nearly US$55 million. In its second million-barrel sale, the country received US$35 million, US$46 million as proceeds from the sale of its third million-barrel of crude, and US$49.3 million from its fourth oil lift.

Based on a consolidation of all the lifts to date, the country has sold 5,009,797 barrels of oil valuing US$246,542,662. The country is anticipating its sixth lift within the next two weeks.
Along with the earnings from the oil lifts and over US$21 million in royalties and interest, Guyana has close to US$267,668,709 in its NRF, at the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank.

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