According to Guyanese Online, Reuters, MercoPress and other news organizations, an ExxonMobil subsidiary and its partners have discovered hydrocarbons offshore Guyana, but the Guyanese government reports that it is not sure if the discovery can be confirmed in commercial quantities.
UPDATE: Exxon confirmed the discovery on 20 May.
The Liza-1 exploration well on the Stabroek Block has encountered hydrocarbons, according to several reports. Esso Exploration and Production Guyana (EEPGL), an affiliate of ExxonMobil, holds 45% interest, Hess Guyana Exploration holds 30% and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25%. Exxon signed an agreement with Guyana to explore the 26,800sq km block in 1999.
The partners engaged Transocean’s Deepwater Champion in March 2015, at a dayrate on the current contract of US$708,000, to explore the offshore area about 120mi off Guyana. The Deepwater Champion can work in 12,000ft of water and reach drilling depths up to 40,000ft. The ship is contracted onsite through this month, according to Transocean.
According to reports, the Guyanese minister of natural resources and the environment, Hon. Robert M. Persaud, said it is too early to confirm whether there are commercial quantities of hydrocarbons, specifically light crude.
The discovery is sited in a border region that has been claimed by Venezuela in a territorial controversy dating back more than 100 years. In fact, in 2013, Anadarko Petrolem encountered challenges when its employed seismic vessel, Teknik Perdana, was detained and subsequently released by the Venezuelan naval forces during seismic acitivties for oil exploration on the Roraima block.
Artist rendering of Transocean Deepwater Champion courtest of Transocean