Exxon Mobil and Hess Corp. said they are moving up the start date for first oil production in Guyana to December instead of the previous timeline slated for early 2020.
The Liza Phase 1 project is just the beginning of the concerted, Exxon Mobil-led effort to transform the tiny South American nation of Guyana into a major offshore oil producer in the coming years.
New York-based Hess got ahead of Exxon and announced the new December startup date on Wednesday. Chief Executive John Hess said it will take three month or so until the development is producing at its capacity of about 120,000 barrels of oil per day.
Apart from maybe just the booming Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico, Guyana is seen as Exxon Mobil’s biggest growth area with billions of dollars being pumped into the region. In fact, Guyana is the primary reason Hess’ stock value is up more than 35 percent this year.
The focal point of the first phase is the Liza Destiny facility, a floating, production, storage and offloading vessel, called an FPSO, that arrived on site in late August. The 1,115-foot vessel will lead production from 17 wells during the first phase of development.
With the planned Liza Unity FPSO, the second Liza phase is expected to come online in mid-2022. That larger project is expected to churn out 220,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. A third phase, called Payara, is slated for 2023 with the same 220,000 barrels per day production estimate.
In less than five years, Exxon and Hess have announced 14 discoveries offshore of Guyana with more on the way. They’ve increased their recoverable reserve estimates offshore of Guyana to more than 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
Exxon Mobil now expects to produce more than 750,000 barrels of oil a day offshore of Guyana by 2025. That’s equal to nearly 20 percent of Exxon’s global oil and gas production today.
Adjacent to oil-rich nations like Brazil and the economically struggling Venezuela, Guyana is a small, nascent energy nation that’s gearing up for its own oil boom.
The developments are in what’s known as the potentially prolific Stabroek Block spanning 6.6 million acres offshore of Guyana.
Exxon owns a leading 45 percent stake in the project with Hess controlling 30 percent. The remaining 25 percent is owned by the China National Offshore Oil Corp., known as CNOOC.
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.