ExxonMobil says it plans to start light crude production from a large new discovery off Guyana in 2020.
Given Guyana's modest oil demand, the discovery seems likely to put the small South American country into the ranks of Latin America's oil exporters.
The US major discovered 32°API crude at the Liza-1 well in the deepwater Stabroek block in May 2015. The Liza-2 well confirmed recoverable resources of 800mn-1.4bn bl of oil equivalent (boe), ExxonMobil said in June.
The floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel that will be used "is designed for an annual average of 100,000 b/d – we have not given confirmation of daily production, as this will not be apparent until after we are further along in the production process," ExxonMobil said. "The projected 100,000 b/d will not necessarily remain constant for the proposed 20-year period that the company will be drilling, and production would rather most likely fluctuate."
ExxonMobil spudded its third well - Skipjack - on Stabroek on 17 July.
ExxonMobil operates Stabroek with a 45pc stake. US independent Hess holds 30pc and Chinese state-owned CNOOC unit Nexen the remaining 25pc.
Stabroek is part of the Essequibo region over which neighboring Venezuela has long claimed sovereignty in a century-old border dispute. But after raising objections to ExxonMobil's drilling plans last year, Caracas has gone silent on the matter as it focuses on containing internal strife.
The Essequibo covers the western two-thirds of Guyana, and the dispute has long prevented Georgetown and Caracas from agreeing on the demarcation of their maritime border.
Guyana produces no oil or gas, and the dispute over Essequibo led Venezuela to suspend shipments in 2015 of up to 5,000 b/d of refined oil products to Guyana under the government´s PetroCaribe preferential oil supply program.
Guyana now imports oil products from Trinidad and Tobago.
Date: Sep 6, 2016