Exxon Considers Guyana Offshore Gas Production Post-2029

(Reuters) — An Exxon Mobil-led consortium is considering its first offshore natural gas production in Guyana, close to the country's maritime border with Suriname, an executive at the U.S. oil and gas group said on Wednesday.

Exxon, Hess Corp. and CNOOC are under pressure from Guyana to develop untapped natural gas in the South American country, where they have discovered more than 11 billion barrels of oil and gas since 2015.

"By early 2025 we will have done the exploration and appraisal work to understand how comfortable we are on the resource," Exxon's Guyana manager Alistair Routledge said.

The earliest the consortium could expect to start gas production in the prospective field near Suriname could be 2029 or 2030, Routledge added.

The consortium has yet to decide whether its seventh offshore project in Guyana would focus on oil or natural gas discoveries in the giant Stabroek block, he said.

However, Guyana's Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo said the country wants the group to co-develop a natural gas project, adding that another international company signaled this week it would be ready to help develop the gas.

"If we allow Exxon to go on their own, they may just slow the pace and tell us there is not enough for a commercial project," Jagdeo said. "We want another international developer participating."

Exxon will evaluate a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility or piping the gas discovery to an onshore processing plant, Routledge said, depending on the potential volumes. It could also process the gas in a platform.

"You might actually need more gas onshore for an LNG facility than you would to have it either for a floating (facility) or indeed on a platform of some kind," he added.

Neighboring Trinidad and Tobago, which has an underutilized LNG export facility, said this week it would be pleased to jointly develop Guyana's natural gas.

However, that proposal "is likely not the most economic option," Routledge said.

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