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Hess CEO says Pinktail may be part of sixth development project at Stabroek

ExxonMobil Guyana, a subsidiary of US-based ExxonMobil, may include its latest find in Guyana’s offshore zone in its sixth development project at the Stabroek block.

According to the head of Hess, the US independent that holds a minority stake in Stabroek, the newly discovered Pinktail oilfield may be developed together with a nearby site. John Hess, the CEO of the company, said during a recent webcast that Pinktail “has the potential to be coupled with Whiptail, a discovery announced earlier this year ... to be the sixth development.”

Hess drew attention to the high quality of the oil-bearing sandstone reservoir encountered in the Pinktail-1 well, saying he expected the new field to “have good economics.” He went on to describe the new discovery as “very, very important in terms of going up the value queue in terms of what our next set of developments are.”

The CEO did not say when ExxonMobil and its partners might select their next development targets. They brought the first project, Liza-1, on stream in December 2019 and are due to launch the second, Liza-2, early next year. The third development project will be Payara, which is slated to begin production in 2024, followed by Yellowtail, the fourth in 2025. (Longtail and Uaru/Mako have both been mentioned as candidates for the fifth project, but no decision has been made yet.)

Speaking during the same webcast, Hess’ COO Greg Hill expressed enthusiasm about the Yellowtail project, saying that this fourth target would be drawing on a larger resource base than Liza-1, Liza-2 or Payara. “[We’re] pretty excited about the overall economics of Yellowtail and also the size of the reservoir that it’s going to develop,” he commented.

Hill also drew attention to ExxonMobil’s plan for drilling its first dedicated well to test deep-lying reserves at the Fangtooth section of Stabroek in the fourth quarter of 2021, saying that the partners hoped to find large volumes of oil at the site. The outcome of this drilling programme “will be a real key piece of data,” he said. “Fangtooth, if it’s big enough, could potentially be a stand-alone hub on its own,” he added.

ExxonMobil has said that Stabroek may yield as much as 1mn barrels per day of oil by the end of the decade. Liza-1 is already capable of producing 120,000 bpd, while Liza-2 and Payara are expected to yield 220,000 bpd each. Yellowtail’s output is anticipated to reach 250,000 bpd, and the fifth and sixth development projects are likely to contribute at least 220,000 bpd apiece.

Equity in the Stabroek project is split between ExxonMobil Guyana, the operator, with 45%; Hess Guyana Exploration, with 30%; and China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), with 25%. The partners made their first discovery at Liza in 2015 and have made more than 20 additional finds over the last six year. They now estimate the block’s recoverable reserves at more than 9bn barrels of oil equivalent (boe).