ExxonMobil doles out $1.26 billion for FPSO operating off Guyana

ExxonMobil has paid around $1.26 billion to SBM Offshore, a Dutch FPSO operator, for a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which is working on the oil major’s first oil development project located off the coast of Guyana.

This transaction is related to the purchase of the FPSO Liza Unity, which the two players completed a few months before the end of the maximum lease term, in February 2024. The purchase allows ExxonMobil Guyana to assume ownership of the unit while SBM Offshore will continue to operate and maintain the FPSO up to 2033.

The net cash proceeds, comprising a total cash consideration of about $1.26 billion, will primarily be used for the full repayment of the $1.14 billion project financing, decreasing SBM Offshore’s net debt position. The FPSO Liza Unity has been operated since 2023 through the integrated operations and maintenance model combining SBM Offshore and ExxonMobil’s expertise and experience in delivering operational performance.

Currently, the Liza field in the Stabroek block has two FPSOs. The first one, Liza Destiny, started production back in December 2019 as part of the Liza Phase 1 development. The second FPSO, Liza Unity, started production in February 2022, as part of the Liza Phase 2 development.

The Stabroek block covers 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometers) and is operated by ExxonMobil’s affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana with a 45% interest. The company’s partners in the block are Hess Guyana Exploration (30%) and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana (25%).

The Liza Unity vessel arrived in Guyana in October 2021 following construction in shipyards in China and Singapore. Moored in a water depth of about 1,650 meters, the FPSO is able to store around 2 million barrels of crude.

This was the world’s first FPSO to be awarded the SUSTAIN-1 notation by the American Bureau of Shipping in recognition of the sustainability of its design, documentation, and operational procedures and the first unit with a design based on SBM Offshore’s Fast4Ward program.

Recently, SBM Offshore got its hands on a contract to perform front end engineering and design (FEED) for another FPSO vessel, which is destined to work on ExxonMobil’s sixth deepwater oil development project on the Stabroek block offshore Guyana. This will be the fifth FPSO built by the Dutch player for operations in Guyana.

Based on ExxonMobil’s plans, six FPSOs with a gross production capacity of more than 1.2 million barrels of oil per day are expected to be online on the Stabroek block by the end of 2027, with the potential for up to ten FPSOs to develop the estimated gross discovered recoverable resources of more than 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

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