ExxonMobil resumes drilling in Guyana waters after Venezuelan naval interdiction

The Stena Carron drillship

By Youri Kemp
Caribbean News Now associate editor
[email protected]

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Some two weeks after having its oil exploration vessels interdicted by the Venezuelan navy in Guyanese maritime territory, ExxonMobil in a statement on Monday stated that they have resumed oil exploration in Guyanese waters.

In the statement: “ExxonMobil said today that it has begun drilling the Haimara-1 exploration well offshore Guyana, the first of two planned wells in January. The Stena Carron drillship is drilling the well, which is located 19 miles (31 kilometers) east of the Pluma-1 discovery in the southeast Stabroek Block.

“The Noble Tom Madden drillship is expected to drill the second well, Tilapia-1, about three miles (five kilometers) west of the Longtail-1 discovery. The Tilapia-1 well is located in the growing Turbot area.”

Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company, went on to state: “We continue to prioritize high-potential prospects in close proximity to previous discoveries in order to establish opportunities for material and efficient development. Like the Liza and Payara areas, the Turbot area is on its way to offering significant development options that will maximize value for Guyana and our partners.”

ExxonMobil is progressing the Liza Phase 1 development, which has moved into its peak execution phase ahead of expected startup in early 2020. Preparations are underway for the commencement of pipe-laying activities in the Liza field in the spring. The Liza Destiny storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel is expected to sail from Singapore to arrive offshore Guyana in the third quarter of 2019.

The Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) Group, whose ships were intercepted by the Venezuelan navy last year, also expects to be recommissioned to the Turbot area.

While drilling in-shore in the Essequibo River area has been affected by the Venezuelan military incursion, offshore activity off the coast of Guyana has not been affected and is expected to resume under the licence of the Guyana government.

The potential exists for at least five FPSOs on the Stabroek Block producing more than 750,000 barrels of oil per day by 2025. Liza Phase 2 is expected to start up by mid-2022. Pending government and regulatory approvals, project sanction is expected first quarter 2019 and will use a second FPSO designed to produce up to 220,000 barrels per day. Sanctioning of a third development, Payara, is also expected in 2019 with start up as early as 2023.

Security arrangements are unclear at the moment for Exxon and Guyana following the recent Venezuelan aggression.



  1. One for Venezuela, naught for Exxon/Guyana.
    I still haven’t seen Guyana’s and company proof yet,concerning the recent incident. Somebody could clue me in…Only heard Exxon says and “Greenidge says…”
    I suppose if they had any “real” proof, Youri would have shown us.
    I did see Venezuela’s proof…(video and pic’); shows the ships were in Venezuela’s waters. Don’t expect Youri to show you that!
    Now, everything’s back to normal in Guyanese waters, until somebody “f” up, to try and start a war.

  2. The Venezuelans do not own that piece of sea, they are claiming it but it is well established it is owned by Guyana.

    Venezuela are playing the bully card and making threats militarily they want it for the oil, if there was no oil they would not want it.

    You can be sure the British and US navies will attack Venezuela if they make any aggressive move militarily towards Guyana, and rightly so.

    • Venezuela nor Guyana don’t “own” anything.
      The fact of the matter is, the ships were in Venezuelan “territorial” waters and no international body like the UN or Exxon is disputing that at present, so why should you?

      Venezuela won this round, and the prospects looks good for future [g]rounds.

      • Venezuela should be nuked from the face of the earth. The estimated 100 billion barrels of oil located offshore Guyana belongs to Guyanese.
        Guyanese will become wealthy within a few decades, and the country will have infrastructure that will rival developed countries such as those in the EU bloc by 2030.
        Guyana is the new Dubai of the world.

        • Guyana won’t see ANY of the ‘Wealth’ that you mentioned, Allison!
          The funds will eventually show up on the balance sheet of the USA’s ExxonMobil affiliate.

          Nothing new here, Allison. Guyana has the Natural Resource – America covets it, America takes it!
          End of story.

          It’s America’s version of ‘Democracy’.

          Don D.


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