ExxonMobil hunting next Guyana ‘find’ in Africa

Development Drilling of Liza Phase 1 offshore Guyana

Having realized nine oil finds offshore Guyana since 2015, oil and gas people.com reported on Wednesday that the global oil giant ExxonMobil is eyeing western and southern Africa as potential locations for a comparable oil bonanza.

 The announcement by ExxonMobil of its first oil find in Guyana in May 2015 and the eight discoveries up to earlier this year has significantly altered Guyana’s developmental outlook and attracted the attention of potential investors in both oil and gas-related fields as well as other areas of economic endeavour.

With oil extraction scheduled to commence here early in 2020 ExxonMobil is reportedly already aiming to repeat its success, having recently consolidated its exploration portfolio through the acquisition of considerable “positions” in  Ghana, Mauritania, South Africa and Namibia, as well as Cyprus and Malaysia, according to  Stephen Greenlee, Exxon’s President of exploration, in an interview in Houston.

 On the hunt for what he described as “the next Guyana” ExxonMobil, according to Greenlee, is in the process of “acquiring large amounts of seismic data with the idea that in the future one or two of those are going to turn out to be a major find”.

The ExxonMobil top executive is quoted as saying that the positions in western and southern Africa are “large acreage positions…………in areas that we think have promising opportunities for hydrocarbon systems.”

 Greenlee is credited with leading the team that discovered what the report described as a “massive tranche of crude off Guyana’s coastline in 2015, a find that has grown into the world’s biggest new deepwater play. At 4 billion bbl, the discovery dwarfs the reserves of OPEC-members Equatorial Guinea and Gabon,” the report said.

 ExxonMobil is credited with having pioneered deep-sea discoveries off Nigeria and Angola, and opening landlocked Chad to drilling. Ghana already has yielded the significant Jubilee find. The other African countries in Exxon’s sights have little experience of deepwater oil and natural gas production.

ExxonMobil is not alone in its ongoing interest in Africa’s oil and gas prospects. Its rivals, including Tullow Oil, Royal Dutch Shell and Total are also scouring Africa’s western coastline in search of oil.

 The countdown to Guyana’s ‘first oil’ early in 2020 has been a major national preoccupation for almost three years, the primary talking points for Guyanese being contract negotiation, the extent of the likely Local Content benefits for Guyanese entities and the country’s envisaged development landscape in the oil and gas era.

 Earlier this year it was announced that ExxonMobil will undertake an investment of US$5 billion in the procurement of the materiel required for the drilling  operation. ExxonMobil commenced its drilling operation in 2014 having acquired its exploration permits since 1999.

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