Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) announced a significant oil discovery on the Stabroek Block, approximately 120 miles offshore Guyana. The well was drilled by an affiliate of ExxonMobil – Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd.

Oil was found at more than 295 feet (90 meters) of high-quality oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs. It was safely drilled to 17,825 feet (5,433 meters) in 5,719 feet (1,743 meters) of water. Stabroek Block spans 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometers).

The well was spud on Mar 5, 2015. The well data will be analyzed in the coming months to determine the full resource potential. Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd. holds 45% interest. Hess Guyana Exploration Limited holds 30% interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds a 25% stake.

In 2015, ExxonMobil intends to boost production volumes by 2% to 4.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, driven by liquids growth of 7%. The ramp-up of several projects completed in 2014 and the expected startup of seven new major developments this year, including Hadrian South in the Gulf of Mexico, expansion of the Kearl project in Canada, Banyu Urip in Indonesia and deepwater expansion projects at Erha in Nigeria and Kizomba in Angola, should contribute more to volume growth.

ExxonMobil is the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, engaged in oil and natural gas exploration and production, petroleum products refining and marketing, chemicals manufacture and other energy-related businesses. Approximately four-fifth of Exxon Mobil’s earnings come from its operations outside the U.S.

ExxonMobil is one of the world’s best-run integrated oil companies given its record of superior returns on capital employed. The energy giant has long been a core holding for investors seeking a defensive name with continued dividend growth. ExxonMobil is fairly active in its investment program.

The strength of ExxonMobil lies in its balanced operations, strong financial flexibility, steady improvement in efficiency and cost control. The company’s efforts to build an unconventional resource portfolio both in North America and overseas are aimed at increasing production through a wider exposure to large energy resources with a long reserve life and low field declines. However, we are skeptical about the company’s near-term performance due to its muddled refining fortunes.

ExxonMobil currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks from the same space are Transmontaigne Partners L.P, Pembina Pipeline Corporation, and Africa Oil Corp. All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).