Esso Exploration and Production Guyana, an affiliate of American oil and gas firm ExxonMobil, has discovered an oil-bearing sandstone reservoir after the drilling of the Hammerhead-1 well, offshore Guyana.

The oil discovery represents the fifth on the Stabroek block during the past year and its ninth in offshore Guyana.

The well was drilled to 13,862ft (4,225m) depth in 3,773ft (1,150m) of water. The Stena Carron drillship started drilling on 27 July.

ExxonMobil Exploration Company president Steve Greenlee said: “The Hammerhead-1 discovery reinforces the potential of the Guyana basin, where ExxonMobil is already maximising value for all stakeholders through rapid-phased developments and accelerated exploration plans.

“Development options for Hammerhead will take into account ongoing evaluation of reservoir data, including a well test.”

Hammerhead-1 is nearly 21km southwest of the Liza-1 well. The detection of oil reserve follows previous discoveries on the Stabroek Block at Liza, Liza Deep, Payara, Snoek, Turbot, Ranger, Pacora, and Longtail.

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“The Hammerhead-1 discovery reinforces the potential of the Guyana basin, where ExxonMobil is already maximising value for all stakeholders.”

Earlier discoveries led to the announcement of an estimated recoverable resource of more than 4 billion oil-equivalent barrels, and the potential for up to five floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels that can produce over 750,000 barrels per day by 2025.

ExxonMobil stated that there is potential for additional production from undrilled targets and it is planning for rapid exploration and appraisal drilling.

A second exploration vessel, the Noble Tom Madden, is expected to arrive in October to speed up exploration of high-potential opportunities in Guyana. After that, the company will start drilling at the Pluma prospect, which lies nearly 27km from Turbot.

Liza Phase 1 will use the Liza Destiny FPSO vessel to produce up to 120,000 b/d of oil. It is slated to commence oil production by early 2020. Construction of the FPSO and subsea equipment is under progress.