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Deepwater oil and gas production is set to increase by 60% by 2030, to contribute 8% of overall upstream production, according to a new report from Wood Mackenzie, as cited by Rig Zone.
Ultra-deepwater production is set to continue growing at breakneck speed to account for half of all deepwater production by 2030. In the oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) industry, deepwater is defined as water depth greater than 1,000 feet while ultra-deepwater is defined as greater than 5,000 feet.
Deepwater production remains the fastest-growing upstream oil and gas segment with production expected to hit 10.4 million boe/d in 2022 from just 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) in 1990. Wood Mackenzie has predicted that by the end of the decade, that figure will pass 17 million boe/d.
U.S. oil and gas major Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) is the latest oil major to make a deepwater oil and gas find. Last month, Exxon announced that it had made two more discoveries at the Sailfin-1 and Yarrow-1 wells in the Stabroek block offshore Guyana, bringing discoveries on the block to more than 30 since 2015.
Exxon revealed that the Sailfin-1 well was drilled in 4,616 feet of water and encountered 312 feet of hydrocarbon-bearing sandstone, while the Yarrow-1 well was drilled in 3,560 feet of water and encountered 75 feet of hydrocarbon-bearing sandstone.
Exxon did not disclose how much crude oil or gas it estimates the new discoveries to contain, but hiked a previous output forecast for the third quarter from older discoveries in the region.
The supermajor has boosted development and production offshore Guyana at a pace that "far exceeds the industry average”. Exxon’s two sanctioned offshore Guyana projects, Liza Phase 1 and Liza Phase 2, are now producing above design capacity and have already achieved an average of nearly 360K bbl/day of oil. The supermajor expects total production from Guyana to cross a million barrels per day by the end of this decade.
Exxon said a third project, Payara, is expected to launch by year-end 2023 while a fourth project, Yellowtail, could kick off operations in 2025.
Exxon is the operator of the Stabroek block where it holds a 45% interest while partners Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES) and Cnooc (OTCPK: CEOHF) hold a 30% and 25% interest, respectively. Exxon’s oil and gas production are well below record levels, averaging 3.7M boe/day at midyear, in-line with last year but nearly 9% below 4.1M boe/day set in 2016.
By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com
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Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com.