ExxonMobil forced to cut production on Guyana FPSO
GEORGETOWN, April 14, 2021 – In spite of recent repair works on the Liza Destiny FPSO unit in Guyana, ExxonMobil has been forced to cut production due to renewed problems with its gas compression plant. These persistent problems have forced the company to use up the gas flaring quotas that were granted by Guyanese authorities.
In January, ExxonMobil was forced to remove a faulty gas compressor on the flagship vessel to be sent back to MAN Energy Solutions’ facility in Germany for inspections and repair. This issue had a direct effect on the production curve of the Liza Destiny FPSO, which started production in December 2019 but took a year up to December 2020 to reach its average production rate of 120,000 bpd. Unfortunately, the testing operations on the silencer system on the discharge side of the flash gas compressor system have not been successful.
This has forced the FPSO, chartered by SBM Offshore, to reduce production to minimal levels – 30,000 bpd – so as to mitigate the formation of hydrates in the subsea systems, maintain gas injection and fuel gas to the power generators, and minimise flare.
In a statement published by local media outlets, ExxonMobil voiced its disappointment on the design issues and continued underperformance of the FPSO, claiming it was below “ExxonMobil’s global expectations of reliability.”
Without the compressor, ExxonMobil is once again forced to flare additional gas associated with the Liza field in the Stabroek block, though the total amount flared before the latest breakdown was still under the 397 mcm (14 mcf) agreed with Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency up to June 2021. Before the latest repair attempt, the company was injecting or using up to 88% of the produced gas from the reservoir, flaring the rest.
Guyana’s authorities imposed tougher flaring rules on the third phase development of the Stabroek block, granted for the Payara discovery in 2020, than they did on the Liza development, which was discovered in 2015.
Since then, ExxonMobil has made 18 discoveries on the block, with recoverable resources estimated at 9 billion boe. The Stabroek block’s production is forecast to reach 750,000 bopd from five FPSOs by 2026. The block’s shares are divided between ExxonMobil, with a 45% operating share, US independent Hess with a 30% share, and China’s CNOOC International with a 25% share.