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Hess, Exxon Mobil Prep For More exploration offshore Guyana

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 – 12:28pm

Partners Exxon Mobil, Hess Corp. and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum are making progress toward development of the hydrocarbon bounty discovered offshore Guyana.

“This month a second exploration vessel, the Noble Tom Madden, arrived to accelerate exploration and appraisal activities on the block starting with the Pluma prospect located 17 miles south of Turbo where we expect to spud in early November,” Hess Corp. CEO John Hess said on the company’s third-quarter earnings call Oct. 31.

The well, located about 60 miles south of the Turbot discovery, will target Upper Cretaceous reservoirs, the company said.

So far, the Exxon Mobil-led exploration effort has led to nine discoveries. The latest was announced in August after Exxon Mobil affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd.’s Hammerhead-1 struck oil, opening a new play type and adding to the prospectivity of the Stabroek Block.

The discoveries, which are expected to lead to a gross production of more than 750,000 barrels of oil per day by 2025, have been among the exploration bright spots for the industry which saw oil and gas companies’ exploration budgets drastically slashed during the market downturn. The success offshore Guyana has also spurred interest from other companies looking to hit oil in the region.

Greg Hill, COO for Hess, said a successful flow test was recently completed at Hammerhead and additional appraisal activities are planned. Plans are for the Stena Carron rig that drilled the well to go to the Canary Islands in Spain for recertification before returning to the block in late December to spud a well on the Upper Cretaceous Amara prospect, which is about 24 miles southeast of the Turbot discovery.

Meanwhile, development of Liza Phase 1—sanctioned in June 2017—is moving ahead. First production of about 120,000 bbl/d is expected by early 2020. The larger Phase 2 development, with gross production of 220,000 bbl/d, is also on track for startup by mid-2022, Hess said, adding “A third phase of development at the Payara Field is expected to have a gross production capacity of approximately 180,000 barrels of oil per day with first production in 2023.”

Hess called the company’s position offshore Guyana “truly world class in every respect and transformational for the company.” Discovered recoverable resources for the Stabroek Block, in which Hess has a 30% stake, are estimated at more than 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Guyana is one of Hess’ two main growth engines. The other is the Bakken where net production grew to118,000 boe/d during the third quarter, up from 103,000 boe/d a year earlier.