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Shell seeks to re-enter Guyana for exploration

Inspenet, March 10, 2023

After paring losses offshore Guyana 10 years ago, Shell could turn a surprising return, as Petrobras, Chevron and Shell are said to be considering bidding for all 14 oil blocks up for auction in Guyana’s current licensing round.

Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, told OilNOW that more than 20 international oil companies (IOCs) have expressed interest in the blocks. But only 10 of them consolidated this, paying for the data available to evaluate the blocks. The sizes of the blocks up for auction range from 1,000 to 3,000 square kilometers. Bids will open in April.

Shell was a 50% partner of ExxonMobil in the country’s prolific Stabroek block, where nearly 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent have been discovered. Shell could have shared in the success. But the company had already carried out drilling campaigns in Guyana during the period from 1971 to 1976, which were not promising. So, not wanting to invest millions in another fiasco, he made the calculated decision to retire and voluntarily surrendered his shares in 2014, leaving ExxonMobil with 100% of the risk.

This decision was also based on territorial disputes between Guyana and its two immediate neighbors at the time; Venezuela and Suriname, which had already seen exploration ships seized and evacuated.

The following year, Exxon struck black gold with the Liza find, one of the largest oil fields in the world at the time, having found between 800 million and 1.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent. To date, it has 33 discoveries on the 6.6 million acre Stabroek Block.

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Photo : siam.pukkato /

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