By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – ESSO Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, last evening announced its intention to take a big risk and begin drilling for oil in Guyana’s offshore waters as early as the second quarter of 2015; representing an investment of close to US$200 million.
The announcement was made at a reception held at the Pegasus, Georgetown to celebrate the opening of company’s subsidiary in Guyana and its Office along New Market Street, Georgetown.
Addressing the gathering which included President Donald Ramotar, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud, ExxonMobil’s Vice President, Eric Oswald boasted that his company is the largest refiner and marketer of petroleum products across the world.
He said that the company is very conservative and careful in all its undertakings and remains focused on trying to find quality oil and gas resources that the world is going to need over the next three to four decades.
“ExxonMobil is not going to conduct any work unless we know that it can be done safely and it can be done ethically… so you have our word,” Oswald added.
According to Oswald, this project is a big risk that could see the company losing some $300 million if it fails.
“Moving into the deep water is a huge technological challenge… the venture here is about 100 miles offshore,” he said; adding that this exploration is in a frontier basin that has not been explored before.
“So while it is exciting, it is also risky.”
The Vice President said however that the research, once successful, could be very significant, “and that is why the company is here because there can be quite a prize,” he said as he registered ESSO’s commitment to exploring the resource safely.
Meanwhile, Minister Persaud welcomed the company to Guyana on behalf of the government. According to the Natural Resources Minister, Guyana’s offshore waters are considered the second-most attractive under-explored basin in the world, with the potential for more than 15.2 billion barrels of oil.
To this end, he said it is not surprising that international oil companies are showing increasing interest in exploration here.
“It must be recognized that Guyana’s legal, regulatory and contractual framework is attractive for petroleum investors, while simultaneously ensuring that there are maximum benefits accruing to the people of Guyana,” he added.
Minister Persaud assured that work has started to prepare the country to manage an oil and gas sector.
“Our National Upstream Oil and Gas Policy will be the first to be adumbrated to serve as a clear and detailed articulation of our objective of ensuring that we create an internationally competitive upstream oil and gas sector. It provides the basis for addressing this and other challenges, as well as responding to important government priorities and commitments.”
He said the government is confident that companies including ESSO Exploration will see this policy, as well as other initiatives, as laying the foundation well in advance of an oil and gas sector.
The Minister reminded of earlier investments made by CGX Energy, Repsol Exploration, Anadarko Guyana Co., Takutu Oil and Gas and Nabi Oil and Gas Inc., all of which have been done based on the rich potential of Guyana’s hydrocarbons resources.
Persuad recognised too that this is a risky undertaking and the results cannot be predicted. Even when there is a significant commercial discovery, it will take several years for the development and production of hydrocarbons.
In this regard, he reassured government’s continued commitment to making this venture a successful one and that Guyana remains an attractive place for investment.