ExxonMobil and partners have made a final investment decision (FID) to move ahead with the $9bn Payara development project offshore Guyana after receiving the Guyanese Government’s approval.

The project involves the development of the Payara field in the Stabroek Block through the drilling of up to 41 wells at ten drill centres.

Of the total wells, 20 will be production wells and the remaining 21 are planned to be injection wells.

First oil from the Payara development project is anticipated for 2024.

ExxonMobil owns a stake of 45% in the block and is the operator Stabroek Block through its affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana.

Hess subsidiary Hess Guyana Exploration holds a stake of 30%, while the remaining 25% stake in the Guyanese block is held by China’s oil and gas firm CNOOC.

Oil in the Stabroek block was discovered with the drilling of the Liza-1 well in May 2015, which encountered more than 295ft (90m) of oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs.

ExxonMobil Upstream Oil & Gas Company president Liam Mallon said: “ExxonMobil is committed to building on the capabilities from our Liza Phase 1 and 2 offshore oil developments as we sanction the Payara field and responsibly develop Guyana’s natural resources.

“We continue to prioritise high-potential prospects in close proximity to discoveries and maximise value for our partners, which includes the people of Guyana.”

Production from the Payara field will be carried out using the Prosperity floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO), said Exxon.

The Prosperity FPSO will be capable of producing up to 220,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from the field.

The Payara development project is now the third project to have been approved by the partners and joins the Liza Phase 1 and Liza Phase 2 projects.

Liza Phase 1 came online in late 2019, while the second phase development of the Liza field is expected to become operational in early 2022.