Exxon’s Massive Oil Discovery Off Guyana Just Got Even Bigger


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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Exxon Mobil has discovered even more oil off the coast of Guyana, a major breakthrough for a U.S. energy company that has experienced financial setbacks in recent years.

Oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil scored a big victory with its announcement that there is more oil in the Stabroek block — a region north of Guyana’s coastline — than originally anticipated. Exxon and U.S.-based partner Hess Corp are currently drilling in the area. The previous estimate was 3.2 billion barrels of oil, but executives announced on Monday that their estimate has increased to 4 billion barrels — one of the largest oil discoveries in the last 10 years.

The news comes as Exxon has made development strides in other regions across the globe.

“Continued success in Guyana and progress in other upstream growth projects in the U.S. Permian Basin, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea and Brazil are giving us additional confidence in achieving our long-term earnings growth plans that we outlined in March,” read a statement from Exxon Senior Vice President Neil Chapman.

Exxon plans to hit the ground running on production efforts, with a goal of churning out 120,000 barrels per day in Guyana by 2020, and then — in conjunction with partners Hess and China National Offshore Oil Corporation — producing 750,000 barrels per day by 2025.

“The accelerated production outlook is the more interesting part of the announcement as it’s quite aggressive. Of course [Exxon] has has a good project execution track record, but the target is ambitious,” said Ruaraidh Montgomery, an analyst with Wood Mackenzie, in a statement to Axios.

The discovery in Guyana is certainly welcome news for Exxon, given several investment blunders that have plagued the major oil company.

Once ranked the largest company in the world by measure of its market value, and one of only three companies to tout a triple-A credit rating, Exxon has since lost both honorable titles. Under the leadership of then-CEO Rex Tillerson, the oil company made a number of unprofitable moves, including big expenditures on failed exploration in the Russian Arctic and Canada’s oil sands. The result was a substantial drop in Exxon’s production rate. (RELATED: Exxon Mobil Wasn’t Very Profitable Under Rex Tillerson’s Leadership)

Tillerson, of course, stepped down from the company in 2016 for a short-lived stint as President Donald Trump’s secretary of state. Exxon has since made ambitious plans to recover under the new leadership of CEO Darren Woods.

The company plans to double its earnings to $31 billion a year by 2025 after a rolling out a substantial investment in new equipment.

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