Payara Approval Will Not Be Rushed: Bharrat Says

(Kaieteur News, 14.Aug.2020) — Even though the PPP/C government may be desirous of granting the approval for ExxonMobil’s third development project within a reasonable timeframe, it will not be rushing the review of the Payara Field Development Plan so as to compromise the integrity of the process. Making this statement last evening during his first appearance on Kaieteur Radio’s Programme, Guyana’s Oil and You, was Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat.

The Minister’s remark was made in response to questions about the mindset of the government in handling the approval process. In this regard, he was keen to note that the government’s priority is rooted in getting more value for Guyanese. Minister Bharrat reminded that the 2020 elections fiasco which lasted for five months played a part in the government being placed into a “tight timeframe” to ensure that the approval is issued to the company. Be that as it may, Minister Bharrat said the government intends to ensure that the integrity of the process is not jeopardized in the haste to get the approval out. The Minister said, “So we have to ensure that we balance it. We have to ensure that investors are satisfied because we need investors in this sector but we need to ensure that when we sign a contract or a license, benefits can be derived for Guyanese.”

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Further to this, the Natural Resources Minister said that the PPP/C Government is mindful of not repeating the mistakes of the previous administration hence the reason President, Irfaan Ali and Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo would have insisted that they want to be satisfied with what is in place before granting approvals.

Minister Bharrat said that an independent consultant is being engaged, with the help of the Canadian High Commission, so as to provide the technical support that is needed. “…We are expecting the consultant in a matter of days so a review can be done. At the end of the day, we want to ensure maximum value for Guyana,” the Minister told Kaieteur News.


According to documents submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), the Payara development will be located in the eastern area of the Stabroek Block which is approximately 190 km (118 miles) from Georgetown.

The operator notes that oil production from Payara is expected to last at least 20 years with startup of the facilities expected to occur approximately in mid-2023.

EEPGL noted that it will drill approximately 35 to 45 wells offshore to support extraction of the oil from below the seafloor. It said that each well will be drilled using a floating drill ship. Also, each well will be directionally drilled to specific reservoir targets generally 4,000 to 5,500 meters (m) below the sea level.

Further to this, EEPGL said it will install some of the oil production facilities on the seafloor at approximately 1,500 -1,980 m (4,900-6,500 ft) water depth. It said that these subsea facilities include various types of pipes and hardware.

Kaieteur News understands that the subsea facilities allow the oil from the wells to be gathered and moved to the surface of the ocean for further processing. EEPGL will then install other oil production facilities on a vessel which floats on the surface of the ocean. The vessel is called a Floating Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO).

It will be moored on location in approximately 1,800-1,980 m (5,900-6,500 ft) of water depth and will remain on location throughout the life of the facility. EEPGL said that oil production facilities on the FPSO will further process the oil extracted from below the seafloor.

The operator also stated that the FPSO will have the capacity to produce up to approximately 180,000 to 220,000 barrels of oil per day. During the early stage of production operations, the FPSO is anticipated to produce up to an average of approximately 5,700,000 to 6,600,000 barrels of crude oil per month. These estimates are preliminary and are subject to change.


By Kiana Wilburg