ExxonMobil ups production outlook on Permian, Guyana growth
By Janet McGurty, Starr Spencer / Platts
Petroleumworld 03 08 2019
ExxonMobil has said it expects to raise its earnings by 140% between 2017 and 2025, helped by higher-than-expected Permian Basin production as well as exploration success and development plans at its Guyana and Brazil offshore holdings.
"We are exceeding the pace of our expected progress on the aggressive growth strategy we laid out last year," CEO Darren Woods said Wednesday during an analyst day at the New York Stock Exchange.
ExxonMobil's earnings forecast is up from last year's estimated increase of 135% for the same 2017-2025 period, the company said in a press release.
In 2018, ExxonMobil added 1.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent to its resource base, including new discoveries and acquisitions, mainly in Guyana and Brazil.
Neil Chapman, head of upstream, said ExxonMobil expects 2019 production of 4 million boe/d, building on actual 2018 production of 3.8 million boe/d, with near-term growth driven by the Permian and Guyana.
Between 2019 and 2025, ExxonMobil forecasts new production volumes of 2.5 million boe/d, with the Permian providing 40% of that total, Deepwater providing 20%, LNG providing 10%, and other sources 30%. In 2020, production is expected to reach 4.2 million boe/d.
In addition, ExxonMobil raised its resource estimate of its deepwater Guyana Stabroek block to 5.5 billion boe from roughly 5 billion boe in December. Since then, its consortium, which includes Hess and China's CNOOC, has had two additional discoveries, Haimara and Tilapia.
A multi-year phased development is planned for Guyana, with first oil anticipated in early 2020 and five separate developments producing more than 750,000 boe/d anticipated by 2025.
"We're now close to double the 3.3 billion boe" of resource that was touted at last year's Analyst Day in 2018, Chapman said.
"We're already planning for at least 10 more exploration wells in 2019 and 2020," he added.
The Yellowtail prospect is the next Guyana wildcat in the exploratory queue, with the Tripletail prospect mentioned as a potential prospect for this year.
All told, a dozen discoveries have been made on Stabroek, most of them on the southeast portion of the block near the Suriname border.
Chapman hinted that first Guyana oil might even occur before the official Q1 2020 due date. "We're hoping to do a little better than that," he said.
Woods devoted a portion of his presentation to the company's thinking on its forward development and capital spending. More investment is needed, albeit disciplined spending, for a major of its size and scope.
"We've under-invested relative to our peers," he said.
ExxonMobil has already upped its capital spend for 2019 to $30 billion, up from an actual $26 billion last year. But in 2020, the figure will rise to $33 billion-$35 billion, and for 2021 through 2025, in the area of $30 billion-$35 billion.
Between its growth in the Permian and in Guyana, and other projects in its portfolio by 2025, improvements to its investment plan will generate an additional $40 billion of net present value, Woods added.
The company now has the best portfolio of opportunities since the Exxon and Mobil merger in 1999, with average returns of around 20%, he said.
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Story by Janet McGurty, with Starr Spencer in Houston from Platts / SPGlobal.
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