ExxonMobil exploring Pinktail-1, Cataback wells offshore Guyana

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Oil giant ExxonMobil is going full steam ahead with its 2021 drilling campaign, conducting drilling operations at two new wells in the Stabroek block offshore Guyana in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The two wells are the Pinktail-1 and the Cataback-1, which are being drilled by Exxon subsidiary and block operator Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) 104 nautical miles off the coast of Guyana.

According to notices from the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD), the Pinktail-1 well will be drilled by the MODU Noble Sam Croft from June 18 to June 22, 2021. The area being drilled is approximately 0.29 nautical square miles.

Meanwhile, the Noble Sam Croft will be drilling the Cataback-1 well from June 22 to July 3, 2021. In both notices, MARAD warned mariners to stay clear of these vessels as they worked, and to “navigate with extreme caution when in the vicinity.”

Earlier this year, ExxonMobil had deployed the Stena DrillMAX and the Noble Sam Croft to enable further exploration and evaluation while continuing development drilling activities offshore Guyana.

It was only recently that ExxonMobil made its 20th discovery of oil offshore Guyana, finding 230 feet or 70 metres of high-quality oil reservoirs while conducting drilling at its Longtail-3 well in the Stabroek Block.

According to a statement from ExxonMobil’s headquarters, the find was made at the Longtail-3 well by drillship Stena DrillMAX. The well, which was drilled in over 6000 feet of water, had 70 metres of high-quality oil reservoirs.

Longtail-3 follows on the success of Longtail-1, wherein oil was found by Exxon in 2018. Prior to Longtail, Exxon last found oil in the Uaru-2 well in April of this year. At the time, that was Exxon’s 19th find. The company had said at the time that it deployed the two additional drill ships in the first quarter of 2021.

The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). EEPGL is the operator, and holds 45 per cent interest in the Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd holds 30 per cent interest, and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds the remaining 25 per cent interest.

ExxonMobil has said it anticipates that at least six projects offshore Guyana will be online by 2027. A fourth project, Yellowtail, has been identified within the block with anticipated start up in late 2025 pending government approvals and project sanctioning. This project will develop the Yellowtail and Redtail fields, which are located about 19 miles (30 kilometres) southeast of the Liza developments.

The start-up of Liza Phase 2 remains on target for 2022, as the Liza Unity FPSO prepares for sail away from Singapore to Guyana later this year. The Unity FPSO has a production capacity of 220,000 barrels of oil per day at peak rates. The hull for the Prosperity FPSO vessel, the third project at the Payara Field, is complete, and topsides construction activities have commenced in Singapore with a startup target of 2024.

These new projects continue to drive investment in the Guyanese economy. More than 2,300 Guyanese are now supporting project activities on and offshore, which reflects a more than 20 percent increase since the end of 2019. ExxonMobil and its key contractors have spent approximately US$388 million with more than 800 local companies since 2015.