Liza Unity arrives for testing ahead of 2022 start-up
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The Liza Unity being led into Guyana’s waters (DPI photo)
The Liza Unity being led into Guyana’s waters (DPI photo)

TWICE the size of the first, Guyana’s second oil ship, the Liza Unity, has arrived in the Stabroek Block alongside its sister vessel, the Liza Destiny. This was confirmed on Tuesday by the Ministry of Natural Resources which said that the Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel had been travelling for 53 days and covered more than 11,000 nautical miles since it departed the Keppel shipyard in Singapore.

Mike Ryan, the Production Manager of ExxonMobil Guyana has confirmed that the Liza Unity FPSO, christened by First Lady, Arya Ali, earlier in the year, is on schedule for an early 2022 start-up.

“I’m so proud of the Unity team. The sail itself is long. The advent of COVID-19 was challenging, but the team was resilient, pushed through and delivered a beautiful FPSO that’s here in Guyana,” Ryan said in a statement to the media.

The Liza Unity FPSO, which has the capacity to produce 220,000 barrels of oil, is currently in the Stabroek Block being prepared for testing and commissioning (Department of Public Information photo)

He explained that the fully certified vessel will now be connected to the spread mooring before preparation for testing and commissioning. “We’re all really excited that she’s joined the neighbourhood next to Liza Destiny, and we’re really looking forward to the next few phases as we bring this FPSO online into 2022,” Ryan noted.

According to ExxonMobil Guyana, the Liza Unity FPSO is the world’s first FPSO to be awarded for its sustainable design, documentation and operational procedures. The vessel has been awarded the SUSTAIN-1 notation by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), which is the Classification Society for the unit.

“This means that the design and construction of the unit is assessed against and adheres to the requirements of the ABS Guide for Sustainability Notations, aligned with the applicable United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” the oil company said in a statement.

Ryan believes that the standard for operational excellence set with the construction of the Liza Unity demonstrates the level of quality that ExxonMobil Guyana aspires to meet on every aspect of its projects. “We remain committed to producing the energy which is essential to modern life and economic development, in a way that helps protect people and the environment,” Ryan added.

He continued: “The development concept and our work on the Liza Unity FPSO has been guided by our enduring values: personnel safety, operational quality, executing on commitments to shareholders and resource owners, and bringing energy to the world while respecting our commitment to the environment and communities in which we operate.”

Meanwhile, with oil earnings already exceeding US$1 billion at half-year, Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, has projected that the industry will benefit from mammoth revenue increases, owing to the operations of additional FPSOs. “Now imagine, this [the US$1B] is just what we are earning from the Liza Destiny alone; that is our small FPSO; that is our baby,” Bharrat emphasised.

He said that by 2026, the oil and gas industry will be serviced by a fleet of four FPSOs, which would have the capacity to facilitate as much as 50 oil lifts per year, at one million barrels per lift. As it is, the Liza Unity is built to produce 220,000 barrels of oil per day with an overall storage volume of up to two million barrels.

In the coming years, both the Liza Destiny and the Liza Unity will be supported by the Prosperity FPSO which is under construction in Singapore and the Yellowtail FPSO, which is slated to come on stream by 2026.

Minister Bharrat had said that with the Liza Unity FPSO, Guyana’s annual oil lifts could grow from five to as much as 12. Additionally, he said that when the Payara Development Project comes on stream, the country would benefit from yet another 10 to 12 oil lifts per year. “That is in total close to 30 lifts per year with Liza Destiny, Liza Unity, and Prosperity,” Minister Bharrat noted.

Moreover, by 2026, the operations of the Yellowtail FPSO will increase the annual oil lifts to approximately 50. “The proceeds from oil and gas will be mind-blowing,” Bharrat surmised.

With crude prices hovering at US$80 a barrel, Guyana is poised to earn as much as US$4,000,000,000 (GYD$836,902,800,000) each year for those projected 50 oil lifts. To paint an even clearer picture, it was explained that oil proceeds will be twice the 2021 national budget by 2026, which totalled $383 billion.

Minister Bharrat had also reminded that the aforementioned earnings are outside of other benefits such as royalties, which could see the Natural Resources Fund closing off the year with US$600 million, which remains untouched.

Nonetheless, ExxonMobil has said that its overall operations have so far provided employment for more than 2,860 Guyanese who work on various oil exploration and development activities offshore Guyana.

Exxon’s Ryan has also commended the work of the company’s Guyanese staff. “Guyana should be very proud of the Guyanese who are offshore,” Ryan said.

The 30-well Liza Phase 2 development, which will be served by the Liza Unity, will produce up to 220,000 barrels of oil per day, with the support of six drill centres.

This includes 15 production wells, nine water injection wells and six gas injection wells. Phase 2 start-up is expected in early 2022 and will develop approximately 600 million barrels of oil.

Liza Phase 2 is expected to cost $6 billion, including a lease capitalisation cost of approximately $1.6 billion for the Liza Unity FPSO vessel, ExxonMobil said.

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