Equipment failure will not impact ExxonMobil’s next oil lift – production manager

…company flaring 16m cubic ft of gas daily, producing 120,000 bpd

By Jarryl Bryan

The recent equipment failure onboard the Liza Destiny Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel offshore Guyana will not have an impact on the upcoming oil lift expected within the next week. This is according to ExxonMobil’s Production Manager.

Slide showing the malfunctioning compressor being lifted and shipped

Last week, Esso Exploration & Production Guyana Limited announced that it was experiencing technical problems with the seal on Liza Destiny’s flash gas compressor. The problem resulted in Exxon reducing its production and conducting flaring.
During a virtual media briefing on Monday, Exxon’s Production Manager Mark Ryan was asked about the potential impact this will have on the upcoming oil lift. In times past when Exxon has had to reduce production due to routine flaring of gas, the company has delayed lifting oil in order to reach its desired target of one million barrels of oil.

Exxon Country Manager Alastair Routledge

This happened most recently in December 2020, when a shortfall of approximately 15,000 bpd in oil production caused a lift that was originally scheduled for November of last year, to be rescheduled for the following month. According to Ryan, however, it will have no effect on the lift schedule.
“We are constantly updating our lift schedule. It’s a constant update based on performance over time,” Exxon’s Country Manager Alastair Routledge said, while Ryan further explained that the next lift will occur by next week and will not be impacted by the equipment failure.
It was also revealed that Exxon is currently flaring 16 million cubic feet of gas per day, an increase from the volume of flaring the company conducted last year which reportedly ranged between 12 and 15 million cubic feet.
It is a situation that the two Exxon executives said no one is happy with, even as they work along with the regulatory agencies. Additionally, Exxon is currently producing around 120,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). Before the flaring, production was at 130,000 bpd.

Production Manager Mark Ryan

Meanwhile, Ryan explained that the compressor is currently on its way to Germany, where it will be examined and fixed. He noted that the workforce on the FPSO had to lift the gas compressor from its subsea position, load it into a container and bring it onshore on Saturday on a support vessel.
“It then got repurposed into a crate, ready for air shipment overseas to Germany. And late last night (Sunday) I can confirm that the compressor along with some of the key piping connecting it and the critical spare parts that we have, left here on its way to Belgium and its arrived in Europe and is being transported to Germany.”
“We have all our subject matter experts from SBM (Offshore), MAN Turbo, ExxonMobil, are at the shop ready to receive it and perform an inspection. We expect that to happen in the middle of the week,” the manager explained.
When asked, Routledge noted that it is far too early to say exactly what the problem is with the compressor. However, he gave a tentative estimate of eight weeks during which the compressor is likely to be out of commission.
“It’s an uncertain timeline. We have some estimates but it really depends on as we open the equipment and machinery in the workshop in Germany, what do we find, what repairs and upgrades are required. But order of magnitude, it’s approximately eight weeks to do this,” Routledge said.
This is not the first time EEPGL has had issues with equipment failure. Last year, in response to the prolonged flaring which had environmentalists up in arms, Exxon had also cut back on oil production in an effort to reduce flaring after the fuel injection system was not commissioned. It subsequently commissioned a gas injection system to cut out flaring.
Back in December on the oil company’s first year anniversary since commencing production in 2019, Routledge had expressed disappointment at the equipment issues they experienced and had also assured that routine flaring would not be used.