Tullow: No Guyana Drilling in 2020

Stena Forth drillship used by Tullow to dirll Jethro and Joe wells in 2019 - Image source: Tullow
Stena Forth drillship used by Tullow to dirll Jethro and Joe wells in 2019 - Image source: Tullow

London-listed oil company Tullow Oil will most likely not be drilling any wells offshore Guyana in 2020.

In its trading update on Wednesday Tullow said it expected to report pretax impairments and exploration write-offs of around $1.5 billion.

Tullow's write-offs include Jethro, Joe, and Carapa well costs in Guyana as a result of drilling results, the company said.

The company last year made two oil discoveries at the Jethro and Joe wells at Orinduik spurring the company to plan at least three more wells in 2020.

"We'd be drilling around three wells or more next year. I'd be surprised if we didn't drill that many," the now-ex Chief Executive Officer Paul McDade told Reuters in September, immediately after the Joe discovery announcement. 

However, Tullow in November said the two discoveries contained heavy oil with high sulfur percentage. Also, Tullow's third well in Guyana - Carapa - in Repsol operator Kanuku block struck what is believed to be a non-commercial oil discovery.

Asked about 2020 drilling plans for Guyana on Wednesday, Mark MacFarlane, Tullow's COO said:"...in terms of further Guyana drilling this year, we really do need to integrate that real-world data that we've got from our three wells into our various models. So unlikely that we will be drilling any Guyana wells this year, but we need to let that technical work run its course before we decide what will be our next well and when would be that next well."

"Our next steps are to integrate these well results with our seismic geological models and our petroleum systems models to high grade our Cretaceous portfolio across both the Kanuku and Orinduik blocks. After we've completed this, we will then be able to define our future drilling campaign in Guyana," Macfarlane said.

Guyana in December 2019 became an oil-producing country after ExxonMobil brought online the first phase of Liza discovery development. Exxon has in the past couple of years made 15 oil discoveries at its Stabroek Block offshore Guyana. 

The 15th discovery was announced in December 2019, adding to the previously announced estimated recoverable resource of more than 6 billion oil-equivalent barrels in the block.

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