Guyana government to form petroleum directorate

After oil discoveries offshore Guyana came into the spotlight in recent months, the Ministry of Natural Resources has decided to form a Petroleum Directorate.

Guyana and its oil prospects have received a lot of attention in recent months after the U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil declared that its world-class Liza oil discovery in the Stabroek offshore block was commercial.

The oil giant also reported positive results from its Payara discovery, which is the second oil discovery made by the company in the Stabroek block.

As a result, the Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, this week told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the Ministry would be forming a Petroleum Directorate during the first quarter of 2017. The Directorate will follow international models separating policy development from regulation monitoring.

Trotman said: “We now need to start preparing and using the opportunity (of) 2017-2020 when we hope to start producing, to put things as many things as possible in place.”

Some $1 million have been allocated in the 2017 National Budget for petroleum management. The money will be used for renting a building to house the Directorate, as well as for procurement of equipment and furnishing.

Minister Trotman said he was hopeful that the acquisition of the building and hiring of staff would be completed by the end of January.

“We expect by the first quarter of this year to have persons hired, but the intention is not to have everyone in place immediately,” Trotman added.

Meanwhile, the government is also developing legislation to govern the emerging oil and gas sector, most notably, the Oil and Gas Policy; Revised Petroleum Act and Regulations; Petroleum Commission Bill; Petroleum Taxation and Fiscal Legislation; and Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) Regulations.

To remind, ExxonMobil drilled three wells in its Liza discovery. The Liza-1 well was drilled in March 2015 while the Liza-2 well was drilled in June 2016. ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana, responsible for all drilling activities on behalf of ExxonMobil in Guyana, drilled the Liza-3 well in October last year.

In December, ExxonMobil awarded a contract to SBM Offshore to supply an FPSO unit for the Liza development, which is estimated to hold an excess of 1 billion oil-equivalent barrels.

Last week, the U.S. firm reported positive results from its Payara-1 well which targeted similarly aged reservoirs that were proven successful at the Liza discovery. Exxon has said that Payara success further establishes the area as a significant exploration province.

During the drilling operations at Payara, more than 95 feet (29 meters) of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs were encountered. The Payara field discovery which was drilled as a new reservoir is located 10 miles (16 km) northwest of the 2015 Liza discovery.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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