Guyana’s First Oil

In January 2020, Guyana became the world’s newest oil-exporting nation. It was 20 years ago that the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) was initially signed between the Government of Guyana and ExxonMobil to explore the Stabroek block. However the timeline between the first discovery in 2015 and first oil production in December 2019 was significantly shorter; in fact, the astonishing level of exploration success of the Liza field to oil production took place in less than five years, several years quicker than usual industry pace. December 20th will now forever be National Petroleum Day in Guyana.

Less than a month later, a tanker lifted the first cargo of one million barrels from the Floating Production Storage and Floating (FPSO) vessel, Liza Destiny. This first cargo was sent to one of ExxonMobil’s refineries in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Subsequent lifts will go to the Government of Guyana and the Stabroek Block co-venturers – ExxonMobil Hess and CNOOC. At maximum production of 120,000 barrels per day, tankers will load at Liza Destiny every 8-10 days.

In late-January 2020, ExxonMobil announced it had increased its resource estimate to more than 8 billion barrels, an increase of 2 billion barrels over its previous estimate. The company has made 16 discoveries in the block and is continuing exploration work. Currently, four drill ships in Guyana continue to explore and appraise new resources for ExxonMobil as well as develop the resources within approved projects on Stabroek. A fifth drillship is expected to be deployed later this year.