ExxonMobil's Pluma marks a perfect 10

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ExxonMobil's run of success continued with its 10th Guyana discovery on 3 December 2018. The Pluma-1 well found 121 feet (37 meters) of oil-bearing sandstone, on trend with other discoveries in Guyana's Cretaceous sandstone play. The discovery, along with appraisals, adds 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) of discovered resources.

Luiz Hayum, research analyst with Wood Mackenzie's Latin America upstream oil and gas team, said: "There is no better name than Pluma, the Spanish word for feather, for ExxonMobil's latest Guyana discovery. With the tenth feather in its cap, the Stabroek block's recoverable resource volumes now surpasses 5 billion boe, marking one of the most impressive exploration campaigns in recent times."

On track to produce a million barrels, Guyana's Liza Complex now best compares to Brazil's Lula-Iracema, one of the world's largest deepwater finds. "With 17 prospects still to drill, Stabroek is writing Guyana's future. It will easily become the fourth largest oil producing nation in Latin America by the next decade, with chances to outperform the countries preceding it. If Venezuela and Mexico fail to address production declines, Guyana could quickly surpass them to number two," Mr Hayum said.

Pluma is located 42 miles (67 kilometres) southeast of Liza, and Wood Mackenzie estimates the discovery holds 300 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) of recoverable resources, while the August 2018 Hammerhead discovery added another estimated 700 mmboe. With many prospects left to chase at the Stabroek block and a success rate of 83%, the project will only get bigger.

"The Tilapia prospect near Longtail is next to drill," Mr Hayum said. "It marks a shift from the previous plan to drill the Aimara prospect and likely aims to add volumes to the Longtail-Turbot development hub. If successful, Longtail, Turbot, Pluma and Tilapia could be jointly developed with a 220,000 barrel per day FPSO in an eventual Phase 4."

"The giant, low breakeven discoveries are key to the partners," he added. "At peak, the project accounts for a third of Hess' future production. For ExxonMobil, Guyana strengthens its growing deepwater portfolio, while for CNOOC it addresses efforts to offset domestic declines."