Govt grants production Licence to ExxonMobil

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…Trotman says Stabroek Basin potentially holds 2 billion barrels of recoverable oil

The Stabroek Basin offshore Guyana, where exploration activities are currently underway, holds potentially 2 billion barrels of recoverable oil, and the exploring companies, including ExxonMobil, are slated to make a formal announcement in the coming days.

It was also announced that Government has taken a decision to give ExxonMobil and its partners a formal Production Licence, after approving the Liza Phase 1 Development plan.

Stena Carron, the drillship used for drilling in the Stabroek block

The announcements were made on Thursday evening by Minister of Natural Resources (MNRE) Raphael Trotman, as members of the National Assembly gathered to consider the second reading of the Petroleum Commission of Guyana Bill.

Delivering his preamble to the debate on the Petroleum Bill – meant in part to create the Petroleum Commission – Minister Trotman recalled for the House the significant discovery made by ExxonMobil and its partners, as announced back in May 2015.

Since that discovery, Trotman told the House, the MNRE has been able to assess the quantum and value of that find at the Liza Well, which is said to contain a minimum of some 800 million barrels, and possibly a maximum of 1.4 billion barrels.

He said, too, that the companies have continued exploration activities, making two further discoveries. Here he pre-empted the expected announcement that the Stabroek Block has since been re-evaluated to be holding some 2 billion barrels of oil.

“You may read about it in the news tomorrow…it is likely to make the news in the morning,” he said.

According to Minister Trotman, the other international operators in Guyana have signalled their intention to continue with exploration activities.

Only recently, one such operator – Tullow — operating in the Orinduik block, indicated that it would be scaling-up its exploration activities to encompass its entire concession.

In making the announcement, Trotman was adamant that ever since May 2015, Government, through the Ministry of Natural Resources and other ministries, such as Finance, Public Infrastructure, Business and Agriculture, have been working for first oil.

“We have had support from the Commonwealth Secretariat, Oceanic and Natural Resources Division.”

He said, too, Government has drafted an Upstream and Local Content Policy in anticipation of the start of production in 2020.

Trotman was at the time piloting the Petroleum Bill which he asked to be sent to a Special Select Committee for further consultations

On the matter of the Production Licence to be handed to ExxonMobil. The Minister recalled for the members of the House that ExxonMobil had submitted its development plans and its application for licence back in December 2016.

He said Government has since formally taken the decision to issue that licence, and that this move was based on advice proffered by world renowned experts that have reviewed the application.

The Natural Resources Ministry as an “important milestone” towards the first phase of oil production at the Liza field offshore Guyana.

Following the approval of the Production Licence and environmental permit, it is expected that ExxonMobil and co-venturers Nexen and Hess will make a final investment decision on the Liza Phase 1 development.

Meanwhile, in a separate process, the Guyana Environmental Protection Agency issued the Liza field environmental permit on June 1. The environmental permit ensures that the environment is protected through the lifecycle of the project.

The Liza Phase 1 development plan includes completion of a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel designed to produce up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day.

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