Exxon ramping up oil production at Liza 2 & Payara

…as shutdown for gas installation also provides debottlenecking window

In the first quarter of this year, the Liza Phase Two and Payara projects in the Stabroek Block produce 242,000 and 214,000 barrels per day respectively. But with the plans that ExxonMobil has for debottlenecking both projects, production is expected to ramp up to much more.

The Liza Unity FPSO is due for modifications in a few months

During a recent press conference, ExxonMobil Guyana President Alistair Routledge had announced that the Liza Destiny and Unity Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels would be shut down in July-August, to facilitate installation activities for the Gas-to-Energy project.
During this shut down, Routledge revealed that debottlenecking activities would also be done on the Unity FPSO- that is, modifications to allow the vessel to produce above 250,000 barrels of oil per day. When the vessel was first commissioned, it had a target capacity of 220,000 barrels per day.
“Part of the Unity shut down is actually going to include some additional debottlenecking work. We think we could actually produce above 250,000 barrels per day. Studies have demonstrated that that can be done,” the executive said.
“So, in that shut down, when we’re installing the risers, we’ll also be doing some debottlenecking, some additional modifications, some other planned maintenance work that we would have done a little later. We’ve accelerated forward. Integrity activity. So, there’s other work in that shutdown that will also be beneficial to the production capacity.”
When it comes to the Prosperity FPSO, which services Exxon’s third Payara project, the company is also eyeing the possibility of increasing production there. Routledge explained that they are going through reviews with government ministries and agencies such as the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“So, in Payara specifically, the FPSO itself is actually very similar to the Liza Phase Two Unity FPSO. So, all the studies that we’ve done would indicate a similar capacity, of 250,000 barrels per day with the existing facilities and relatively minor modifications that would not require any shut down.”
“And so, we’re working through reviews with the government agencies. The studies have been done. The EPA. The MNR. To ensure that everybody has that opportunity to test and be comfortable, that it is safe to increase to those levels. We anticipate in the next month or two, we’ll complete those reviews. And if that is satisfactory, we’ll make that adjustment.”
Routledge noted that even with the modifications that have already been done, the reservoirs are performing exceptionally well. He further assured that debottlenecking is a standard industry practice.
“This is a very normal practice, as we’ve said before, where we look at facility performance, we understand where are the limitations in the equipment at any point in time. We do the right studies and understand. For example, we may have a valve which is the limitation. Can we change the trim in the valve to allow fluids to flow more safely.”
“If its coolants or heaters which are the limitations, can we put additional plates and bundles into those coolants to enhance the capacity of it. These are normal, engineering steps we would do to analyse, what is the limiting factor. And can we increase the capacity in a safe way,” he said.
Meanwhile, he assured that safety is always a factor and in fact, it is the workers on board who make the final determination on increasing production and whether it is safe to do so. Further, he reminded that extensive reviews must be done, including by independent parties such as the government.
“It’s always safe. The production levels we produce oil at, we always start with safety in mind. Our first priority is always the safety of the people on board. Protecting the environment. I go out and I spend time with the crew on board. And reinforce that message.”
“They’re the ones that will ultimately make the decision that they’re comfortable to increase production. And its only after an extensive engineering study, reviews by the independent parties including government agencies and the crew on board, they’ll make that decision.”
Exxon’s plans to boost production figures will be further buttressed by the Yellowtail and Uaru developments, which are already underway and are anticipated to contribute 250,000 barrels of oil each following their respective start-ups. Meanwhile, Exxon has already received approval for their sixth project, Whiptail.
In addition to at least these 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. (G3)