Unlike almost all its neighbors, Guyana isn’t an oil producer yet. But the energy giant Exxon Mobil recently announced it had discovered “significant” oil off the coast.
The discovery could put Guyana on oil and gas Map and the country could become a player in the oil marketplace. However, it will take months to ascertain the size and commercial potential of this discovery.
And there could be issues, as the waters also claimed by Venezuela as part of a long-running border dispute between the South American countries.
On Tuesday, Exxon Mobil Corporation announced a significant oil discovery on the Stabroek Block, located approximately 120 miles offshore Guyana.
The well was drilled by ExxonMobil affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd., and encountered more than 295 feet (90 meters) of high-quality oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs. It was safely drilled to 17,825 feet (5,433 meters) in 5,719 feet (1,743 meters) of water. Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometers).
“I am encouraged by the results of the first well on the Stabroek Block,” said Stephen M. Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company
. “Over the coming months we will work to determine the commercial viability of the discovered resource, as well as evaluate other resource potential on the block.”
A report from the U.S. Geological Survey said Guyana offshore exploration is emerging as a potentially vibrant sector in the region. Local media, the Guyana Chronicle
, in its report on the U.S. oil company's discovery said the region is one of the most attractive near-frontier prospects in the world. Government officials, it reported, have started preparations to build an oil- and gas-based economy.
One potential snag is that neighboring Venezuela has long claimed about two-thirds of Guyana’s territory as well as the offshore area where Exxon Mobil began drilling in March. The area is about 120 miles off Guyana and is claimed by neighboring Venezuela as part of a long-running border dispute.