The following is an excerpt from Christopher Helman | June 30, 2016 | Forbes.com |
Today ExxonMobil XOM +1.38% announced a big discovery at its new well offshore Guyana, called Liza-2. It builds on the success of 2015’s Liza-1. At Exxon’s recent annual meeting, CEO Rex Tillerson declared that first Liza to be the world’s biggest discovery of 2015. Together, the Lizas high-porosity sandstone reservoirs could hold more than 1.4 billion recoverable barrels of high-quality oil.
The virtually unexplored waters of Guyana, the former Dutch colony east of Venezuela, are fast becoming a hotspot of global oil exploration. And Exxon is going big, having expanded its position to 8.1 million gross acres. “To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent of 1,400 Gulf of Mexico blocks,” Tillerson said. Exxon says the 3-D seismic survey that it conducted on the lease was the biggest in company history.
Exxon has 45% of the Liza prospect. Hess HES +4.03% Corp. has 30% and China’s Cnooc-Nexen NXY +% 25%. If Liza is a big deal for Exxon, it’s a bigger deal for smaller Hess. In a statement, CEO John Hess called it an “exciting prospect” and “world-class” with additional wells planned for the drillship Stena Carron. That vessel stabilized itself in waters 5,600 feet deep while drilling down 18,000 feet into Liza. The rig is starting a new well 25 miles to the northwest.
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