Hess Corp.’s new assets offshore Guyana are on track to dethrone its Bakken assets around 2025 and become the company’s top-producing asset.

The Williston Basin has long been a staple in Hess’ portfolio, but production there is expected to level out at around 200,000 boe/d in 2024 and remain at that rate for eight to 10 years.

A year after Bakken production levels out, Guyana will have completely overtaken the play as Hess’ dominant producing asset in the Americas.

Bakken production averaged 163,000 boe/d in first-quarter 2023 compared to 152,000 boe/d in the first quarter of 2022, Hess announced in April 26 first-quarter earnings. Hess added a fourth rig to the play in July 2022 and in first-quarter 2023 drilled 25 wells, completed 26 and brought 24 new wells online, it said.

By comparison, the Bakken averaged 102,000 boe/d in first-quarter 2018 and 117,000 boe/d in first-quarter 2015, according to details in Hess’ prior financial statements.

Bakken production accounted for 44% of Hess’ total of 374,000 boe/d in first-quarter 2023.

Over the next couple of years, the Bakken’s output won’t decline — but it will be outpaced as Guyana puts more wells online.

By 2024, Bakken production is expected to drop to 42% of Hess’ volumes and then to about 36% by 2025 as Guyana production continues to ramp up, according to Hart Energy analysis.

At the same time, Guyana accounted for 30% of Hess’ total production in the first quarter and could reach around 37% in 2024 and 46% by 2025.

RELATED: John Hess: Bakken, US Shale to Plateau in Coming Years

Hess maintains operations offshore U.S., which kicked in an average 33,000 boe/d in the first quarter.

Hess ups 2023 production guidance

Hess expects its total production, which includes volumes from Malaysia and offshore U.S., to average between 365,000 boe/d and 375,000 boe/d in 2023 compared to previous guidance of 355,000 boe/d to 365,000 boe/d — primarily due to strong operational performance in the first quarter.

The New York-based company reported net income of $346 million in the first quarter of 2023 compared to net income of $417 million in the first quarter of 2022. E&P capital expenses were $765 million and Hess spent $580 million on exploration.

“We continue to successfully execute our strategy, which offers a unique value proposition to investors,” CEO John Hess said in the company’s quarterly press release.

“With multiple phases of low-cost oil developments coming online in Guyana and our robust inventory of high-return drilling locations in the Bakken, our company is positioned to deliver durable cash flow growth that enables us to continue to invest in some of the highest-return projects in the industry and to grow our cash returns to our shareholders,” Hess said.

Guyana’s ascension in the Hess portfolio

Guyana started producing in late 2019 from the Stabroek Block and continues to grow in importance within Hess’ portfolio. Currently, there are two developments in production in the block where Exxon Mobil, the operator, holds a 45% interest along with partners Hess (30%) and CNOOC (25%).

The only two operating FPSO units are the Liza Destiny (Phase 1) and Liza Unity (Phase II), which combined produced a net 112,000 bbl/d in the first quarter of 2023 compared to 30,000 bbl/d in first-quarter 2022.

Liza Destiny has a gross production capacity of 140,000 bbl/d while the Liza Unity started production in February 2022 and reached its gross production capacity of 220,000 bbl/d in July 2022.

Hess sold nine cargos of crude oil from Guyana in the first quarter compared with two cargos in first-quarter 2022, the company said.

Payara, the third Stabroek development will utilize the Prosperity FPSO with a gross production capacity of 220,000 bbl/d. The unit is slated to commence production in the fourth quarter of 2023. The FPSO reached Stabroek on April 11 and hook-up and commissioning activities have commenced, according to Hess.

Yellowtail, the fourth Stabroek development, was sanctioned in April 2022 and will utilize the ONE GUYANA FPSO with a gross production capacity of 250,000 bbl/d. First production is slated for some time in 2025.

A slide from a Hess presentation on four FPSOs in Guyana

Hess said it expects Guyanese governmental and regulatory approvals “very soon” for a fifth development, Uaru, with a gross production capacity of 250,000 bbl/d, the company said in its earnings release.

Exploration continues offshore Guyana

Hess also announced another oil discovery in Stabroek at the Lancetfish-1 well. The well encountered approximately 92 ft of oil-bearing sandstone reservoir and drilled in 5,843 ft of water by the Noble Don Taylor. The find is approximately 4 miles southeast of the Fangtooth discovery.

Also, Hess said the Kokwari-1 exploration well was drilled during the first quarter of 2023, but it didn’t find commercial quantities of hydrocarbons.