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Oil explorers consider recommencing work at capped, abandoned well

Three years after a promising oil well offshore Guyana was capped due to safety concerns, the companies are again examining ways of tapping that reserve to see if it is commercially viable, the Deputy Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Newell Dennison announced Friday.

He was at the time delivering a presentation at a two-day conference on ‘Building Capacity for Managing the Hydrocarbon Sector in Guyana,’ at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, the Head of the Petroleum Division said the company was considering another way of checking  Jaguar off the Berbice River to ascertain the amount of the reserve.

“At this point in time they are revisiting how they can actually can get to that target in a different location which might not be hostile as where they were,”  Dennison told participants.

The top GGMC official noted that the Jaguar high-pressure, high-temperature well was drilled on the shelf  to a depth of less than 200 meters before the exploration exercise proved troublesome. He said it would have been the deepest well on that part of the basin if it had managed to reach its depth of 23,000 feet.

“The conditions were very hostile and they aborted. It’s a technical decision out of safety reasons. It wasn’t a wash-out because that well actually was able to recover oil, very little but it recovered oil which gives tremendous prospects to that particular feature that had to be abandoned,” he said.

Repsol SA and Tullow Oil Plc in July 2012 plugged and abandoned an exploration well off Guyana after high pressure prevented drilling.

Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman told the opening of the two-day conference that he wants greater and  wider involvement of all stakeholders in crafting plans to address the environmental and other implications of hydrocarbon exploration and production.

“There is need for greater transparency, and the involvement of a wider cross section of stakeholders in the development of policies and strategies to manage this sector to ensure its success.  Issues of environmental (including oil spill prevention and response) and social safeguards, and the alignment of the sector management with the country’s environmental priorities are also being addressed adequately,” said Trotman who has ministerial oversight for natural resources and the environment.

American oil giant, Exxon-Mobil, announced in late May, 2015 that it had found a huge reserve of high quality oil offshore Guyana.

Repsol and Tullow entry into Guyana was intended to open a new oil frontier following Tullow’s success in French Guiana where an estimated 840 million barrels were discovered. The partners were drilling the well “close to the limits” because of high pressure and temperatures, Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau  had said in May, 2012.

Samples of light oil were recovered from the well.