US supermajor ExxonMobil predicts at least seven floating production, storage and offloading vessels will be required to develop a series of promising discoveries in the giant Stabroek block off Guyana.

“We expect to have five FPSOs in operation in Guyana by 2026 and see potential for a total of seven to 10 FPSOs,” Jayme Meier, ExxonMobil global vice president of deep-water projects, told a panel at the Rio Oil & Gas 2020 digital conference on Tuesday.

ExxonMobil started production from the Liza field off Guyana in December last year with the SBM Offshore-owned Liza Destiny FPSO.

Two other floaters also ordered with SBM — Liza Unity and Prosperity — are due to produce first oil from Liza and the Payara-Pacora development in 2022 and 2024, respectively.

ExxonMobil is currently assessing the contracting of the fourth Guyana FPSO, with suggestions the company will deploy it at the Greater Yellowtail area comprising the Yellowtail-1, Yellowtail-2 and Redtail-1 discoveries, but a firm decision has yet to be made.

Other potential candidates for future development in the Stabroek block include the Turbot-1 and Hammerhead-1 finds.

A month ago, US independent Hess, which partners ExxonMobil in Stabroek, suggested the consortium would need as many as 10 FPSOs to develop its resource base there, currently estimated at about 9 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

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Bacalhau a good catch

Meier also addressed Brazil, in which ExxonMobil is close to starting a two-well wildcatting campaign targeting pre-salt prospects in the Campos and Santos basins with the recently arrived Seadrill drillship West Saturn.

“We are optimistic about future developments in Brazil, with Bacalhau being our first project,” she added.

Although operated by Norway’s Equinor, the Bacalhau pre-salt field will give ExxonMobil access to oil production from Brazil when it goes on stream in 2024, which Meier believes will “open a window” for future growth in the country.