Guyana: Exxon Faces Deadline to Advance Gas Project or Lose Concessions

An Exxon Mobil-led consortium may have to decide by October if it will develop a major natural gas discovery off Guyana’s coast, according to the country’s vice president. The government is pushing to capitalize on largely untapped gas reserves found by the Exxon group, which includes Hess Corp and CNOOC Ltd. Per their agreement, the consortium must relinquish around 20% of its massive Stabroek block if left undeveloped by October.

Exxon hopes to complete appraising the gas finds by early 2024 and is considering commercialization options. But the October deadline may force a decision sooner. Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo said that 20% could include their Haimara gas discovery. “We told Exxon if they’re not going to work on it, they have to relinquish. They did studies suggesting they might proceed,” he stated.

Exxon confirmed discussions over relinquished areas but hasn’t concluded if gassy zones are included. Their exploration deal runs through 2027. Haimara, their 12th find in 2019, unveiled a high-quality gas-condensate reservoir.

Jagdeo cited Exxon data pointing to 16 trillion cubic feet of associated gas in their areas. He previously said Guyana wants another international firm for the $10-$15 billion gas project. “We had strong companies with good credentials express interest, saying ‘We believe it’s viable and want to work on it’,” he added, without naming them.

Once Guyana’s cabinet approves a company, it can begin talks with Exxon to monetize the gas reserves. The consortium faces pressure to develop the major gas resources or relinquish that acreage back to Guyana.