SBM secures US$1B in financing for Payara-bound FPSO vessel

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Netherlands-based company SBM Offshore, which was contracted by oil giant ExxonMobil to construct the Prosperity Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel that will be used in the Payara development, has secured financing to complete the project.

According to SBM in a statement, US$1 billion in financing was secured from a consortium made up of 11 international banks. The Dutch company explained that the Prosperity FPSO will be designed in much the same way as the Liza Unity FPSO that was designed for the Liza Phase 2 development.

“The Company expects to draw the loan in full, phased over the construction period of the FPSO. The financing will become non-recourse once the FPSO is completed and the pre-completion guarantee has been released. The project loan has a tenor of two years post completion, in line with the duration of the charter, and carries a variable interest rate plus 1.60 per cent,” SBM said.

According to the company, the Prosperity FPSO will be designed to produce 220,000 barrels of oil per day, will have associated gas treatment capacity of 400 million cubic feet per day and water injection capacity of 250,000 barrels per day. They further explained that the FPSO will be moored in water depth of about 1900 metres and will be able to store around 2 million barrels of crude oil.

The construction of Prosperity’s hull started in January 2019. Prosperity will be Guyana’s third FPSO. Prosperity’s FPSO is expected to be deployed at ExxonMobil’s Stabroek Block offshore Guyana, as part of the Payara oil field development.

As per the agreement between the Dutch company and Exxon, SBM Offshore will construct, install and then lease and operate the FPSO for a period of up to 2 years, after which the FPSO’s ownership and operation will be transferred to Exxon.

The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). Exxon, through subsidiary Esso Exploration Production Guyana Limited (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 at least six projects offshore Guyana will be online by 2027. The US$9 billion Payara development will target an estimated resource base of about 600 million oil-equivalent barrels and is considered to be the largest single investment in the history of Guyana.

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.