ExxonMobil has awarded a contract to Dutch company SBM Offshore for its Whiptail development project offshore Guyana.

Under the contract, SBM Offshore will perform front-end engineering and design (FEED) for a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.

Following the FEED studies and subject to certain conditions, SBM Offshore will build and install the FPSO.

The oil services company said the contract facilitates the release of initial funds by ExxonMobil Guyana to perform FEED work.

SBM Offshore added that the FPSO will have a production capacity of 250,000 barrels of oil per day, an associated daily gas treatment capacity of 540 million cubic feet and a water injection capacity of 300,000 barrels per day.

With a storage capacity of nearly two million barrels of crude oil, the FPSO will be spread-moored in water that is 1,630m deep.

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According to the agreement, ownership of the FPSO is supposed to be passed to the client before the start of operations in Guyana after the building phase.

SBM Offshore CEO Bruno Chabas said: “We are proud to announce ExxonMobil Guyana has awarded the contracts for a fifth FPSO from SBM Offshore in Guyana.

“This project demonstrates once more the value that our industry-leading Fast4Ward programme brings to our clients and other stakeholders while delivering carbon-efficient energy to the world.”

Other FPSOs built by SBM Offshore include Liza Destiny, Liza Unity, Prosperity and ONE GUYANA.

In August 2023, it was reported that Exxon is planning to invest nearly $13bn to develop Whiptail, which is its sixth oil project in Guyana.

It is expected to start production in 2027, increasing the Exxon-led consortium’s daily oil production in Guyana to more than 1.2 million barrels of oil per day.

Hess, a US energy company, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation are Exxon’s partners in the project.