OPINION: With the attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure at one stage sending Brent crude to its highest intraday gain since the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf crisis, Monday was a good day to bury industry bad news.

Instead, both ExxonMobil and Tullow Oil started their week by announcing their latest discoveries off Guyana.

It is testament to how hot a hot spot Guyana has swiftly become that news of the finds was not lost in the ether amidst a more-than halving of Saudi production overnight as a result of the attacks at Abqaiq and Khurais and the resultant spike in oil prices, which at one stage on Monday was nearly 20%.

While ExxonMobil has almost forgotten what it is like to taste failure on its prolific Stabroek block — with the latest Tripletail find being the US supermajor’s fourteenth on the tract — Tullow Oil’s success at the Joe-1 wildcat on its Orinduik block made it two from two for the Anglo-Irish independent after last month’s maiden Jethro find.

After years of poor exploration results for Tullow, Joe represents another welcome return to success offshore.

And although the discovery is likely to have come in below pre-drill expectations — with Tullow’s early assessment putting it at between 50 million and 100 million barrels — of greater significance is that it has opened up a new play off Guyana in the Upper Tertiary.

Continued success off Guyana acts as an industry reminder of the importance of diversifying exploration portfolios, especially as geopolitical tensions in the Persian Gulf escalate.

All of which makes Tullow’s latest find no ordinary Joe.

(This is an Upstream opinion article.)