ExxonMobil’s SkipJack well offshore Guyana turns up dry

Last Updated on Thursday, 8 September 2016, 18:23 by Denis Chabrol

Stena Carron: Drilling ahead at Liza 3 (Upstream photo)

Stena Carron: Drilling ahead at Liza 3 (Upstream photo)

Guyana has been advised that ExxonMobil’s latest exploratory well offshore Guyana named SkipJack has turned up dry, according to usually reliable sources.

The Ministry of Natural Resources said that ExxonMobil, which is a major partner in the local subsidiary of Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, communicated SkipJack’s poor showing to Guyanese authorities.

The Ministry of Natural Resources was informed by ExxonMobil and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) on August 29, 2016 that the ‘Skip Jack’ well proved not to have commercial quantities of hydrocarbons. We are continuing to have verification work done and awaiting a full report and more information will be provided then.  This announcement reminded us of the undulating fortunes of mining in general and of oil exploration in particular.

The company will continue with plans to develop the Liza well with its declared capacity of approximately one billion barrels and also look for other possible targets for drilling.  Likewise the Government continues its preparations for the eventual production of oil and gas in the near future by building capacity at the legislative, technical and regulatory levels,” the Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement late Thursday.

The United States oil giant had hoped to hit another jackpot similar to Liza which is about 40 kilometers southwards.

ExxonMobil’s Country Manager, Jeff Simons told Demerara Waves that “we haven’t seen significant hydrocarbons” of oil or gas in commercial quantities at SkipJack. Simons could not say how much money was spent on exploration at Skipjack.

A leading oil and gas publication, Upstream, has reported that  ExxonMobil failed to hit commercial hydrocarbons at SkipJack.

The US supermajor confirmed reports from Upstream sources that Skipjack, which was spud on 17 July, was a dry hole.

The company did not detail if there were any hydrocarbon shows during the drilling.

Upstream quotes unnamed sources sources who are familiar with the geology in the vast Guyana-Suriname basin as saying that the Skipjack prospect a geological lookalike to Liza, re¬iterating comments previously made by executives at Exxon¬Mobil’s partner Hess that the Stabroek block contained potentially more than 20 structures with similar attributes as Liza.

The Stena Carron drillship is on location at the Liza 3 appraisal well after completing drilling Skipjack 40 kilometres to the north-west of Liza.

ExxonMobil spud Liza 3 on 4 September and, like its predecessor Liza 2, the well will focus on testing the flank of the Liza structure to determine the aerial extent of the reservoir.

Liza 2 hit more than 190 feet of net pay and caused ExxonMobil, along with partners Hess and CNOOC subsidiary Nexen, to boost their estimate of the recoverable oil in place at Liza to 800 million to 1.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

In July, ExxonMobil submitted a development plan for Liza to Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency to begin the environmental review process.

That plan calls for a pair of rigs to drill development wells from two drill centers, each with a corresponding water injection site to the east.

Production will be sent to an FPSO with capacity of around 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

Under that plan, first production from the field would come online sometime in 2020 or as late as 2121.