Due to the number of sizeable oil discoveries made by ExxonMobil together with its partners CNOOC and Hess, the tiny former British colony of Guyana could become the largest oil producer in South America, possibly edging out Brazil for the top spot.
Exxon, the oil major behind products like the Mobil Vactra range of slideway oil, has made some 31 discoveries alone in the Stabroek Block that it operates, with it currently estimating the recoverable reserves at some 11 billion barrels. Furthermore, John Hess, the CEO of partner firm Hess, suggested recently that billions more barrels of recoverable oil could be found in the deeper waters of the block, because most of the finds so far were at depths of around 15,000 feet. Exploratory drilling has only recently begun at 18,000 feet.
While Exxon continues to develop its finds, other players are also making notable discoveries offshore of neighbouring Suriname. Guyana and Suriname share the same basin, so the recent discoveries in the Corentyne Block of Guyana could just be the tip of the iceberg.
Industry insiders now reportedly believe that the United States Geological Survey may have greatly underestimated the recoverable oil reserves in the Guyana-Suriname Basin at 2.8 billion to 32.6 billion barrels. Even just considering Exxon’s discoveries, it seems likely that Guyana’s proven reserves may ultimately exceed the 13.24 billion barrels reported for Brazil by the regulator there. This could trigger an economic boom for the tiny South American country and potentially generate billions of dollars in additional government revenue.