The Guyana basin could hold double the 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent that ExxonMobil has already discovered in the Stabroek block, a World Petroleum Congress panel heard on Monday.

Participating in a strategic session on Exploration Hot Spots, ExxonMobil’s Senior Vice-President for Exploration & New Ventures Mike Cousins was asked just how big the discoveries on the prolific offshore block might be.

The supermajor's current assessment of oil and gas resources on Stabroek includes discoveries such as Liza, Payara and Yellowtail, but exploration and appraisal is still ongoing.

Cousins would not give an exact estimate of the scale of the Stabroek discoveries, but he did comment on the quality of the basin as a whole.

“We discovered over 10 billion oil equivalent barrels in six short years. This kind of result has been unprecedented for some time. In the whole Guyana basin, which goes down to Suriname, we would suggest that the industry will easily see double that amount,” he said.

TotalEnergies and Apache Corporation - a subsidiary of APA Corporation - are currently exploring and appraising discoveries on Suriname's Block 58, although an estimate of scale has not yet been given.

Cousins also confirmed that the Stabroek partners' current assessment of development plans for the asset point to 10 floating production systems.

His statement supports the view that this block alone will eventually support oil production of more than 1 million barrels per day.

Cousins would not comment on future plans for the ExxonMobil-operated Canje and Kaieteur blocks, located northeast of Stabroek, as talks with partners are continuing in relation to these areas.

Exploration wells drilled on the two areas have not yet matched the successes seen on Stabroek, where a second floating production, storage and offloading unit is expected to start production in early 2022.

Also taking part on the Exploration Hot Spots panel were Tiago Homen, Executive Director for Reservoirs with Petrobras and Liz Schwarze, Vice-President of Global Exploration with Chevron.

Homen said Brazil's state-controlled oil company will spud the first of 14 planned wells next year in Brazil’s equatorial margin frontier play.

He said exploration investments in this region could reach $2 billion by 2026.

Schwarze highlighted the East Mediterranean as a region to watch.

Chevron’s position in the East Mediterranean was strengthened by the acquisition of US-based Noble Energy in 2020, and its assets include exploration blocks in the western desert region of Egypt.

“The seismic data [from Egypt] is just starting to come in, and we have 3D data to interpret and we’ll see what there is to see,” Schwarze said.

“These are really interesting areas that have not been accessible for a long time. This is a proven hydrocarbon province with favourable access to markets,” she noted.

Cousins described ExxonMobil's own position in Cyprus as “really interesting” and "building on decades of knowledge in multiple basins".

“We will be spudding another well in Cyprus in a couple of weeks, which will tell us more about an initial discovery made a couple of years ago,” he said.

The well is understood to be on Block 10, where the Glaucus-1 discovery is located.

ExxonMobil, in partnership with Qatar Energy, recently acquired new offshore exploration rights for Block 5 in Cyprus.