Whiptail oilfield is located in the Stabroek block, offshore Guyana. (Credit: Exxon Mobil Corporation.)
The project is expected to start operations in 2027. Image Representative. (Credit: United States Embassy Kuala Lumpur/ Flickr)
The field was discovered in 2021. (Credit: Hess Corporation)

Whiptail oilfield development is located in the Stabroek block, offshore Guyana. The project is being developed by a joint venture (JV) comprising ExxonMobil’s affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana (EEPGL), Hess and CNOOC International.

EEPGL is the operator and holds a 45% interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration holds 30% interest and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana, a subsidiary of CNOOC, owns the remaining 25%.

Whiptail development, which will be EEGPL’s sixth offshore development, will entail an investment of around $12.93bn.

The project will involve the use of a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel with an annual average capacity of 300,000 barrels per day (BPD) for total liquids production.

Development drilling is expected to begin from late 2024, with installation of subsea components scheduled to commence in the second half of 2025 or early 2026.

The FPSO installation, commissioning, and start-up is planned for 2027. The project will have a life cycle of around 20 years.

Whiptail Field Location

Whiptail project is located in the eastern half of Stabroek block area, approximately 195km northeast of the coastline of Georgetown, Guyana, in waters 1,500m to 2,000m deep.

The development will include Whiptail, Pinktail, and Tilapia fields.

Overall, the Stabroek Block spans a total area of 6.6 million acres (26,800 km2).


ExxonMobil announced the discovery of Whiptail in July 2021 after Whiptail-1 well and Whiptail-2 well encountered oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs.

The discovery is located approximately 4 miles southeast of the Uaru-1 discovery and approximately 3 miles west of the Yellowtail field.

The Whiptail-1 well, drilled in 5,889ft (1,795m) of water, encountered 246ft (75m) of net pay in high-quality oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs.

Located 3-miles northeast of Whiptail-1, Whiptail-2 was drilled in 6,217ft (1,895m) of water and encountered 167ft (51m) of net pay.

The two wells were drilled by Stena DrillMAX and Noble Don Taylor, respectively.

Whiptail Project Development

According to the Whiptail Development Project Environmental Impact Assessment report published in August 2023, the project will involve drilling 33 to 72 development wells including production and water or gas injection wells within ten drilling centres.

The drilling activity will take place over several years from 2024 or 2025 through to 2030-31.

The project will also include installation and operation of Subsea, Umbilicals, Risers, and Flowlines (SURF) equipment; installation and operation of the FPSO vessel in the eastern half of the Stabroek Block.

The project will also use key onshore infrastructure, including shorebases, warehouses, storage and pipe yards, fabrication facilities, fuel supply facilities, and waste management facilities in Guyana.

Overall, it will employ up to 540 people during the drilling and installation stage and from 100 to 180 people during operations.

The drilling and installation of the FPSO/SURF facilities will impact a subsea area of around 10,900 hectares within the Project Development Area (PDA).

During operations, work performed on the surface of the ocean could potentially include a 5,100-hectare area.

Whiptail FPSO Details

The approximate dimensions of the new FPSO will be 330m long by 60m wide by 24m deep. It will be equipped with double-hull protection.

The FPSO will be able to separate the recovered reservoir fluids into oil, water, and gas phases.

After removing the impurities from the recovered oil, it will be sent to the storage tanks in the hull. The water will then be discharged to the sea after removing hydrocarbons.

The FPSO will also dehydrate, compress, and re-inject associated natural gas into the targeted reservoirs. Some gas will be utilised as fuel and some flared on a temporary basis.

Additionally, the FPSO will be able to treat seawater for facility cooling purposes. The seawater will also be injected into the reservoir to maintain pressure and increase oil production.

The FPSO will be designed to produce 250,000 barrels of oil per day (BPD), with a gas treatment capacity of 540 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) and a water injection capacity of 300,000 BPD.

It will be spread moored in a water depth of about 1,630m and will have a storage capacity of around 2 million barrels (MMbbl) of stabilised crude oil.

Crude oil will be pumped to the offloading tanker using a floating hose connected to the manifold of a conventional third-party tanker at a rate of approximately 160,000 cubic metres (m3) of oil in 24 hours.

Contractors Involved

In October 2023, SBM Offshore was engaged to perform Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) for the FPSO for the Whiptail project.

In November 2023, Saipem won a contract for the design, fabrication and installation of subsea structures, risers, flowlines, and umbilicals for the development. Saipem plans to perform operations using its vessels FDS2, Constellation, and Castorone.