ExxonMobil increases production; compressor still to be fixed

Flaring on Liza Destiny (Annette Arjoon)

ExxonMobil has announced that oil production, which had dropped to some 30,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) following the reemergence of compressor problems onboard the Liza Destiny, has since been increased to between 100,000 to 110,000 barrels per day.

According to a statement from the company’s Public and Governance Affairs Advisor, Janelle Persaud, teams on the Liza Destiny Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel have removed the discharge silencer from the compressor for further assessment of the damage.

“We estimate that repairs or replacement will take approximately three months. Additionally, plans initiated in 2020 are progressing to install a redesigned third stage flash gas compression system at the end of this year,” Persaud said.

When it comes to flaring, which had been dropped to 4 to 5 million cubic feet of gas per day after the recent problems with the compressor, Persaud explained that the current increased production figures will be accompanied by a flare level of no more than 15 Million cubic square feet of gas per day.

“These operating parameters were defined after careful consideration of safety, environmental, technical and economic factors as well as discussions with the relevant government agencies on the best path forward while repairs and upgrades are ongoing,” she said in the statement.

“ExxonMobil Guyana is extremely disappointed by these ongoing technical challenges but we are proud of the team offshore that continues to work safely and manage operations efficiently during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to work with the relevant parties to rectify the situation as soon as possible.”

Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon, who had expressed concerns over the troubled gas compressor on the Liza Destiny FPSO vessel, had previously requested a meeting with the local executives of United States oil giant, ExxonMobil, to be briefed on the matter.

According to Persaud, a meeting is being arranged and could even happen as early as today.

Last week, Exxon had revealed that as it was conducting the final testing phase of the reinstalled flash gas compressor and other components of the system on the Liza Destiny FPSO, they encountered an additional problem with the discharge silencer.

The US oil giant noted that a team from SBM Offshore, Germany manufacturer MAN Energy Solutions and ExxonMobil were on site to assess repairs, with support from engineering experts in Europe and the USA.

“We have reduced production to a minimum level that mitigates formation of hydrates in subsea systems, maintains gas injection and fuel gas to the power generators, and minimizes flare,” the company said.

When asked, Persaud had revealed that this means the company is producing some 30,000 bpd – a reduction from an initial 120,000 bpd. This reduction, she noted, has the potential to throw off Exxon’s next lift, which was scheduled for the next few days.

When asked about the volume of flaring in light of the production cuts, Persaud had disclosed that flaring was now at 4 to 5 million cubic feet of gas per day, slightly above pilot levels.

Excess flaring had previously averaged at 16 million cubic feet of gas per day, following the compressor malfunction in February.