Exxon ups the stakes in Guyana, applies for production license

Geology and Mines Commissioner Newell Dennison.

American oil giant ExxonMobil has asked Guyana’s government to approve a production license to allow it to actually start pumping oil from the seabed by late 2019, months earlier than planned officials said this week.

It will also the first time that the highly resource-rich Caribbean trade bloc headquarter nation of less than a million people, surrounded by traditional producers like Venezuela, Brazil, Trinidad and Suriname, will have issued an oil and gas license in its history Geology and Mines Commissioner Newell Dennison said Wednesday.

Exxon had back in mid 2015, declared the country’s first “world class” commercial oil and gas find, saying that its Liza 1 well about 120 miles offshore is believed to contain up to 1.4 billion barrels of oil and an undisclosed amount of gas. The Liza well was its first.

Dennison said the company has also submitted its general production plan alongside its application for a production permit. The firm has so far drilled five wells and is currently completing work on a sixth. Only one has come up dry so far.

“I can confirm that they have apply for the permit,” Dennison said noting that the country is scrambling to quickly transform itself from a primary producer of products like gold, rice sugar, bauxite and timber into an oil based economy in time for production in about two years.

But even as Exxon is moving ahead, several other companies with offshore concessions near Exxon’s Stabroek Bloc are either conducting or are preparing to begin 2-3D seismic work.

These include Spanish-owned Repsol and tiny Mid Atlantic Oil and Gas which has partnered with Exxon to conduct exploratory work. Other big names include British-based Tullow Oil in a joint venture with Eco Atlantic as the race is on to find commercial quantities in one of the world’s virgin areas.

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