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U.S. oil major ExxonMobil is rapidly progressing its Liza Phase 1 development located offshore Guyana with the beginning of development drilling. 

ExxonMobil informed on Tuesday that the development drilling for the first of 17 wells planned for Phase 1 began in May, laying the foundation for production startup in 2020.

The company and its co-venturers have so far discovered estimated recoverable resources of more than 3.2 billion oil-equivalent barrels on the Stabroek Block.

Liam Mallon, president of ExxonMobil Development Company, said: “We are well on our way to producing oil less than five years after our first discovery, which is well ahead of the industry average for similar projects. The Liza development and future projects will provide significant economic benefits to Guyana.”

According to the company, Liza Phase 1 is expected to generate over $7 billion in royalty and profit oil revenues for Guyana over the life of the project. Additional benefits will accrue from other development projects now being planned.

Liza Phase 1 involves the conversion of an oil tanker into a floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel named Liza Destiny, along with four undersea drill centers with 17 production wells. Construction of the FPSO and subsea equipment is under way in more than a dozen countries. Liza Destiny will have a production capacity of 120,000 barrels of oil per day.

A second FPSO with a capacity of 220,000 barrels per day is being planned as part of the Liza Phase 2 development, and a third is under consideration for the Payara development. The oil major has already submitted an application for an environmental permit to develop the second phase of Liza with start-up expected by mid-2022.

Together, these three developments will produce more than 500,000 barrels of oil per day, ExxonMobil noted.

The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometers). Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited is operator and holds 45 percent interest. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds 30 percent interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25 percent interest.

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