Govt greenlights Exxon’s US$12.7B Whiptail Project

– Guyana to reach 1.3 million bpd by 2027
– SBM Offshore secures contract to build Jaguar FPSO

The Guyana Government has approved the US$12.7B Whiptail Project – the sixth development being undertaken by United States oil giant ExxonMobil in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana.

The hull for the Jaguar FPSO, which will be used by Whiptail Project

A statement from the Natural Resources Ministry on Friday said this approval of the Petroleum Production Licence for the Whiptail Development Project would inject billions of dollars into the local economy.
“Notably, oil production from this sixth development will generate billions in revenue for Guyana, thereby supporting significant economic and social upliftment for the country and its citizens,” the missive from the ministry has stated.
Guyana had retained British consulting firm Bayphase to review the Whiptail Field Development Plan (FDP) which was submitted to the Government by Exxon last October. A few months prior, in August 2023, the US oil major had approached the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to greenlight the project.
After receiving these required Government and regulatory approvals, ExxonMobil said in a statement from its Texas, US headquarters on Friday that it has made a final investment decision (FID) for the Whiptail development in the oil-rich Stabroek Block.
Whiptail is expected to add approximately 250,000 barrels of daily capacity by the end of 2027, when it is slated to come on stream, thus bringing the country’s production capacity up to approximately 1.3 million barrels per day.
“Our unrivalled success in developing the Guyana resource at an industry-leading pace, cost, and environmental performance is built on close collaboration with the Government of Guyana as well as our partners, suppliers, and contractors. The Stabroek block developments are among the lowest emissions-intensity assets in ExxonMobil’s upstream portfolio, and will provide the world with additional reliable energy supplies now and for years to come,” President of ExxonMobil Upstream Company, Liam Mallon, has said in the statement.
The multi-billion-dollar Whiptail project, which is expected to last for at least 20 years, would include up to 10 drill centres with 48 production and injection wells.

Jaguar FPSO
However, the floating, production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel for the Whiptail project, to be named Jaguar, is under construction.
Back in October 2023, SBM Offshore announced that it was awarded the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract for the Whiptail FPSO. The Dutch company had said, upon completion of the FEED contract, that it would eventually construct and install the FPSO, but this second phase of work is dependent on project approval by the Guyanese Government.
On Friday, SBM Offshore announced that ExxonMobil had confirmed the award of contracts for the Whiptail development, thus cementing the construction and installation of the Jaguar FPSO by the Dutch company.
Under the contract, ownership of the vessel would be transferred to Exxon before the FPSO’s installation, and SBM Offshore is expected to operate the FPSO for 10 years under the Operation and Maintenance Enabling Agreement signed in 2023.
The Jaguar FPSO’s design is based on SBM Offshore’s industry-leading Fast4Ward® program that incorporates the company’s 7th new build, a multi-purpose floater hull combined with several standardized topside modules.
The FPSO will be designed to produce 250,000 barrels of oil per day, will have an associated gas treatment capacity of 540 million cubic feet per day, and a water injection capacity of 300,000 barrels per day. The FPSO will be spread-moored in a water depth of about 1,630 metres, and will be able to store around 2 million barrels of crude oil.
“SBM Offshore remains committed to working with Guyanese companies, and will continue to expand these activities. More Guyanese engineers will be recruited and employed as part of the FPSO Jaguar project team,” the Dutch shipbuilder said on Friday.
Currently, ExxonMobil has three FPSOs – the Liza Destiny from the Liza Phase One Project, Liza Unity from the Liza Phase Two Project, and Prosperity from the Payara Project – which are currently operating offshore Guyana and are safely producing more than 600,000 barrels of oil per day.
Additionally, construction is underway on FPSOs for the Yellowtail Project – the One Guyana FPSO, which is set to commence production in 2025; and for the Uaru Project – the Errea Wittu FPSO, which is anticipated to start in 2026.
In addition to these six projects offshore Guyana, Exxon is eyeing the possibility of having 10 FPSOs operational by 2030.
Nevertheless, with these six developments to come on stream by 2027, production from the Stabroek block will generate tens of billions of dollars of revenue and significant economic development for Guyana.
In fact, since its first production in December 2019, more than US$4.2 billion has been paid into the Guyana Natural Resource Fund (NRF).
“We are committed to helping spread the benefits throughout the country by investing in local Guyanese communities and projects to support the country’s phased and sustainable development,” Mallon noted in Friday’s statement.
Moreover, there are currently 6,200 Guyanese working in support of Stabroek block operations – which is 70 per cent of the workforce. The cumulative spend of ExxonMobil Guyana and its contractors with Guyanese suppliers since 2015 surpassed US$1.5 billion at the end of 2023.
ExxonMobil, through its local subsidiary Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), has a majority 45 per cent interest in the oil-rich Stabroek Block, and is the operator; while Hess Corporation holds a 30 per cent interest, and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds the remaining 25 per cent interest.
However, Hess Corporation has agreed to merge with Chevron, and this deal is expected to be closed in the first half of this year – a transaction that could be delayed after Exxon filed arbitration proceedings to claim pre-emptive rights in the offshore Guyana operations. (G-8)