Whiptail well next drilling target for ExxonMobil

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Now that Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) has found oil in the Uaru-2 well offshore Guyana, it will be setting its sights on drilling the Whiptail exploration well.

The revelation was recently made by Hess Corporation’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Greg Hill. According to him, Exxon will be drilling the Whiptail well in May of this year, which will serve as a guinea pig for the next exploration wells.

“So far, we had four penetrations in the Santonian, and all have been good quality oil and reservoirs. Now we need actual rock data and physical data to be able to fine-tune the seismic further and better tease out where the oil is,” Hill said.

Already, ExxonMobil has established an ambitious oil exploration plan for 2021 offshore Guyana. Over the past few months, Exxon, the only company to have found and started producing oil in local waters, has been drilling simultaneous deepwater wells in both the Stabroek and Canje blocks.

EEPGL, Exxon’s subsidiary and Hess’ partner in the Stabroek Block, spudded the Koebi-1 well using drillship Stena Carron. This particular well was spudded on March 3. Another well that was drilled in the Stabroek Block is the Longtail-2 well.

According to a notice from the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD), this well would have been drilled in the Stabroek Block by the Stena DrillMax from March 10 to March 27.

Meanwhile, Exxon had started drilling the Jabillo-1 well within the Canje Block, using the Stena Carron drillship. It was understood that the Stena Carron, after drilling the Jabillo-1 well and maintenance activities, would resume drilling on the Koebi-1 well.

The Jabillo-1 well happened to be the second of three exploration wells Exxon has scheduled for drilling in the Canje Block in 2021. The other two were the Bulletwood-1 well and the Sapote-1 well. However, the Bulletwood well turned out to not have commercial quantities of oil.

Only a few days ago, Exxon announced its 19th oil discovery offshore Guyana at the Uaru-2 well in the Stabroek Block. It is a find that added to the approximately nine billion barrels of oil estimate.
Oil was found in the first Uaru well in January 2020, making it Exxon’s 16th discovery in Guyana’s waters. ExxonMobil has said it anticipates at least six projects offshore Guyana will be online by 2027.

In March 2021, ExxonMobil secured a sixth drillship, the Noble Sam Croft, for exploration and evaluation drilling activities offshore 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 30 kilometres (19 miles) southeast of the Liza developments.

The start-up of Liza Phase 2 remains on target for 2022, as the Liza Unity Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) prepares to sail 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 2300 Guyanese are now supporting project activities on and offshore, which reflects a more than 20 per cent 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.