ExxonMobil has announced that it has selected Dutch conglomerate SBM Offshore to perform Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) on its floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel – in a project that will mark the largest unit that SBM has ever built.

The vessel will form part of Exxon’s Yellowtail development project, located offshore Guyana, and will be the group’s fourth multibillion dollar production unit at the site.

In a statement, Bruno Chabas, SBM Offshore’s CEO, said: “SBM Offshore is proud to announce ExxonMobil has awarded the contracts for the fourth FPSO to be deployed in Guyana. When finished, the FPSO will be the largest producing unit ever built by the company.”

According to the group, the new unit will have capacity to store around two million barrels of crude oil, with a gas treatment capacity of 450 million cubic feet per day, and a water injection capacity of 300,000 barrels per day. Under the contract, SBM Offshore is set to construct, install, and lease the FPSO, using its Fast4Ward programme. The group will also operate the vessel for a period of up to two years, with the first oil expected in 2025.

To deliver the new unit, SBM has formed a partnership with engineering firm McDermott with the aim of increasing engineering and fabrication capacity – though SBM will hold full ownership of the FPSO.

Samik Mukherjee, McDermott’s executive vice president and COO said: “Our people and resources bring the proven project execution, integrated engineering and modularisation capabilities essential for delivery assurance and success. We will align these strengths with those of SBM Offshore to drive a cohesive, efficient execution strategy together.”

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By GlobalData

Oil discoveries in Guyana are on the rise, and ExxonMobil has been at the forefront of exploration, with the group’s operations officially commencing in 2019. The company is reportedly seeking to produce 800,000 barrels of oil per day by 2025 – a figure that would make Guyana the group’s most active and productive fossil fuel site in the world.

While some have said that developing an oil industry in the region would be beneficial in bringing economic growth and job opportunities, Exxon’s operations have come under fire from environmentalists and safety experts, who have said that operations do not adequately prepare for disaster.