Guyana overtakes Russia as world’s top oil discoveries for 2019

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A report from Norwegian research company Rystad Energy is showing that for the year 2019, Guyana was able to overtake Russia as the world’s highest oil producer, in terms of conventional discovered volumes.

According to the report, which was released last week, Guyana discovered an estimated 1.8 Billion Barrels of Oil Equivalent (BOE) for last year. This, according to the report, would have contributed to oil giant ExxonMobil being named ‘explorer of the year’.

“ExxonMobil can be declared explorer of the year for a second year in a row thanks to its ongoing efforts and results in Guyana, along with significant investments in Cyprus. The supermajor was exceptional, both in terms of discovered volumes and value creation from exploration,” Palzor Shenga, a senior analyst on Rystad Energy’s upstream team, was quoted as saying in the report.

“The US company discovered around 1.07 billion BOE in additional net resources last year. Rystad Energy estimates the value creation from these volumes to be around $2.7 billion, largely driven by the continued success in Guyana,” it also stated.

According to a list of 2019’s top producers in the report, Guyana and Russia are followed by Mauritania (predominantly gas), then Iran and Cyprus. They are followed by Norway, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Ghana. Angola, Indonesia and the United States have fallen out of the top 10 oil finds list for 2019, since Rystad’s rankings were last published.

Last October, Rystad had released a report in which it cited Guyana as second only to Russia in terms of oil produced in the world. At the time, Russia had discovered over 1.5 billion barrels of oil in its Dinkov and Nyarmeyskoye oil fields.

The fact that Guyana was the world’s top producer of oil for 2019 comes even as the country has only started actually producing oil last month. However, it was a bittersweet moment as first oil came without necessary systems like a local content policy or a petroleum commission being in place.

So far, Esso Exploration & Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), Exxon’s local subsidiary, has made 15 oil finds in the Stabroek block some 100 miles offshore Guyana, including four for this year.

Last year, the company made five discoveries. These discoveries have pushed the total estimated recoverable barrels of oil equivalent to over six billion. In addition, Exxon is moving ahead with its Liza phase two project, which will contain approximately 30 wells.

The Liza Destiny, Guyana’s first Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, arrived in local waters at the end of August. The vessel will play a key role in oil production.
The oil giant has said that pending governmental approvals and project sanctioning of a third development, production in the Payara field north of the Liza discoveries could start as early as 2023, reaching an estimated 220,000 barrels of oil per day.