Yellowtail oil field development plan to be submitted this year – Hess

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It is expected that the Field Development Plan (FDP) for Yellowtail, which would be oil giant ExxonMobil’s fourth oil development in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana, would be submitted later this year.

This was revealed by Hess Chief Operating Officer, Greg Hill. Hill, who’s company is a co-venture partner of ExxonMobil in the Stabroek block, was at the time taking part in the 2021 first quarter earnings call.

While the operator is slated to submit the FDP later this year, Hill explained that for now, design work and front-end engineering, the process of establishing project costs and potential risks, is ongoing on the prospective Yellowtail oilfield.

“The operator expects to submit a plan of development to the Government of Guyana in the second half of this year. Pending Government approval and project sanctioning, the Yellowtail project is expected to achieve first oil in 2025.

“The Stabroek Block exploration programme for the remainder of the year will focus on both Campanian, Liza-type reservoirs, and on the deeper Santonian reservoirs. In addition, key appraisal activities will be targeted in the southeast portion of the Stabroek Block to inform future developments,” Hill explained.

When it comes to drilling activity, Hill referred to the recent discovery of oil at the Uaru-2 well, which successfully appraised the Uaru-1 discovery while discovering oil at greater depths. He explained that with the well finding 120 feet of high-quality oil reservoirs, it means there is potentially more.

“The Stena DrillMax is currently appraising the Longtail discovery. Additional appraisal is planned at Mako and in the Turbot area, which will help define our fifth and sixth developments on the block,” Hill said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer John Hess also spoke of the Yellowtail development. However, he also spoke about the potential for multiple Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels.

“Engineering work for a fourth development on the Stabroek Block, Yellowtail, is underway, with anticipated startup in 2025, pending Government approvals and project sanctioning. We continue to see the potential for at least six FPSOs on the block by 2027; and, longer term, for up to 10 FPSOs to develop the discovered resources on the block,” Hess said.

With the other developments, including the Liza Phase 2 and Payara developments, on track for their scheduled completion, and the Liza Phase 1 development averaging 120,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), Guyana’s oil production is likely to exceed 500,000 bpd by 2024.

It was explained by Hill during that very conference call that, at the Liza Phase 2, the project is progressing according to plan. According to him, approximately 90 per cent of the overall installation work is completed. This means that first oil for the Liza Phase 2 remains on track for early 2022.

“The Liza Unity FPSO, with a production capacity of 220 thousand gross barrels of oil per day, is preparing to sail from the Keppel yard in Singapore to Guyana midyear,” Hill had explained during the call.

The Payara development, meanwhile, is also progressing. According to Hill, 38 per cent of the overall work on this project, which will utilise the Liza Prosperity Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, has been completed.

“The project will utilise the Liza Prosperity FPSO, which will have the capacity to produce up to 220 thousand gross barrels of oil per day. The FPSO hull is complete, and topsides construction activities have commenced in Singapore. First oil remains on track for 2024,” Hill had explained.

The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited is operator and holds 45 per cent interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd holds 30 per cent interest, and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds 25 per cent interest.