Yellowtail installation to be complete by December 2024 ahead of next year’s start-up

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
The “PLV Saipem” vessel being used in the installation activities

Ahead of the planned start-up of ExxonMobil’s fourth offshore project Yellowtail in 2025, the company is currently conducting installation activities which are expected to be completed by December of this year.

The Ministry of Public Works’ Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) announced that DP Class 3 crane ship “PLV Saipem FDS2” would be conducting installation activities in Yellowtail, under international signal, all within Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

It was explained by MARAD that these installation activities will be conducted approximately 107.4 nautical miles off the coast, over an area of 25.4 square nautical miles and will conclude on December 31, 2024.

“Mariners are required to stay clear of this vessel and navigate with extreme caution when in the vicinity. Communication can be made to the vessel or the Georgetown Lighthouse on VHF CH 16,” it was further explained.

The Yellowtail Development Project is set to commence production in 2025 using the One Guyana Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, which will yield the largest production of 250,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) during a 20-year period that will generate at least 1300 direct jobs.

Yellowtail, which will be located 126 miles offshore Guyana, was sanctioned in April 2022. The project includes up to three drill ships drilling up to 67 wells, the FPSO vessel, and the SURF production system, with tankers taking the oil to global markets.

The US$10 billion development project will target an estimated resource base of about 900 million oil-equivalent barrels and will be the largest single investment in the history of Guyana’s petroleum sector.

ExxonMobil has said it anticipates at least six projects offshore Guyana in the Stabroek Block, which contains a recoverable resource estimate of over 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The US oil major started production in December 2019 at its first development – Liza Phase One.

ExxonMobil currently has three FPSO vessels operating in Guyana’s Stabroek Block. The current production figures will be further buttressed by the Yellowtail and Uaru developments, which are already underway, and anticipated to contribute 250,000 barrels of oil each following their respective start-ups.

An application for the sixth development, the Whiptail Project, was submitted by the Stabroek Block operator, ExxonMobil Guyana Limited (EMGL), and its co-venturers. This project is currently under review by the Government and once approved, will see Guyana producing just over 1.2 million barrels of oil per day by 2027.

In addition to the at least six projects offshore Guyana that Exxon anticipates will be online by 2027, it is also eyeing the possibility of having 10 FPSOs operational by 2030.

Production has already started on three projects with the Liza Destiny, Liza Unity and  Prosperity FPSO vessels in operation.

The third project – the Payara development – meanwhile targets an estimated resource base of about 600 million oil-equivalent barrels, and was at one point considered to be the largest single planned investment in the history of Guyana.

Meanwhile, the Uaru oil development, which will be the fifth one for the company offshore Guyana, is targeting between 38 and 63 development wells, including production, water injection, and gas re-injection wells. Exxon had previously also made known that it anticipated first oil from the Uaru development by late 2026 or early 2027.

Guyana, with the US oil giant as the operator, began producing oil on December 20, 2019, in the Stabroek Block. Guyana’s oil revenues are being held in the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) at the New York Federal Reserve Bank, where it is earning interest.

EMGL holds a 45 per cent interest in the Stabroek Block, while Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd holds a 30 per cent interest, and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds the remaining 25 per cent interest. However, Hess Corporation has since agreed to merge with Chevron, and this transaction is expected to be closed this year, though there have been reports of a possible delay after Exxon contested the merger.