ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) has awarded a contract to SBM Offshore for a floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.

The contract is a significant move to advance the offshore Liza field in Guyana towards commencement of first production.

Under the contract, SBM Offshore will accomplish front-end engineering and design for the FPSO.

After the final investment decision on the project scheduled next year, it can also gain responsibility to build, install and operate the vessel.

ExxonMobil Development Company president Neil Duffin said: “Liza development activities are steadily progressing, and we’re excited to reach this important milestone.

"It is estimated that this field hosts a potential recoverable resource of more than one billion of oil equivalent barrels."

“We look forward to working with the government of Guyana to develop its valuable resources, which have the potential to provide long-term, sustainable benefits to the country.”

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Earlier this month, ExxonMobil submitted its application for the production licence with the initial development plan for the Liza field to Ministry of Natural Resources of Guyana.

The submitted development plan comprises the framework of development drilling, operation of the FPSO with subsea, umbilical, riser and flowline systems.

The Liza field is located in the Stabroek block nearly 193km offshore Guyana.

It is estimated that this field hosts a potential recoverable resource of more than one billion of oil equivalent barrels.

Currently, the Stabroek block includes an area of around 6.6 million acres.

EEPGL holds 45% interest in this Stabroek block with the operatorship responsibility.

Hess Guyana Exploration owns 30% interest, while the remaining 25% is with CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana.