Suriname oil company signs deal with Malaysia

PARAMARIBO--The national oil companies of Suriname and Malaysia have joined forces to hunt for natural gas off the coast of the South American nation. Staatsolie, from Suriname announced that it has signed a production sharing contract with Malaysia's Petronas for an offshore bloc about 130 kilometers offshore.

"We believe in Suriname," said Petronas General Manager Effendi Chung Bin Abdullah at the signing with Staatsolie Director Mark Waaldijk.

Staatsolie said Petronas will invest US$25 million, drill at least one exploratory well and conduct a 3D seismic survey of Block 52. It said Petronas's costs would be reimbursed if the Malaysian company developed a commercial discovery, in which case, Staatsolie would have the option to participate with a 20 per cent stake.
 
It is the second production sharing deal Staatsolie signed in one year. In 2012, the company signed with Texan oil and natural gas corporation Apache Corp to invest US$230 million in the exploration of a different offshore block.
 
Global energy companies have shown a growing interest in the potential of South America's northeastern shoulder. A 2011 discovery off the coast of French Guiana was described as "game changer" for the region's oil prospects.
 
Staatsolie, founded in 1982, produces about 16,000 barrels of oil a day. The company reported earlier this week that 2012 was its second consecutive record year, with gross revenue of US$ 1,047 million, US$ 478 million of which was profit.
 
Staatsolie Director Waaldijk characterised the signing as "another step in our company's striving to lift Suriname's oil industry to higher heights."

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