June 24, 2012 10:16 AM
PARAMARIBO - Oil multinational Chevron is the latest to join in the search for oil off the coast of the Guianas. Chevron announced on Wednesday that it is teaming up with Kosmos, which has production sharing contracts with Suriname's state oil company Staatsolie.
Founded in December 1980, Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname N.V. is one of Suriname's biggest earners, clocking some US$ 700 million in income in 2011, with a production of 16,000 barrels per day.
Under the agreement with Chevron, Kosmos retains a 50 per cent working interest and remains operator of its two wells until the end of the exploration phase. Chevron will assume the remaining 50 per cent working interest and will be the operator following any commercial discoveries. First drilling is planned for 2014.
Dallas headquartered Kosmos Energy, an oil exploration and production company, signed production sharing contracts with Staatsolie in December 2011, for two blocks off Suriname at approximately 155 miles (250 kilometres) from Paramaribo. They cover a total area of nearly three million acres, in water at depths of between 650ft and 8,500ft.
"We are very pleased to participate in Suriname's emerging energy sector... These blocks will expand our exploration portfolio in Latin America," said Ali Moshiri, president of Chevron's Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production Company in a press release.
Suriname's western and eastern neighbours have also been getting quite some attention from oil companies of late.
Last February, Canada-based CGX started drilling off the coast of western neighbour Guyana; the Jaguar-1 well was drilled 107 miles (172 km.) off the Guyanese coast. GGX shares this "Georgetown Petroleum Prospecting Licence" with London-listed Tullow Oil, a division of Argentina's YPF, and Spain's Repsol.
In September last year, Tullow Oil discovered oil off French Guiana where preparations are now underway for an exploration project targeting 1.4 billion barrels of light and heavy oil and igniting hopes in the French overseas territory for increased income and employment.
For Suriname, the oil discovery off French Guiana served as an indication that there is also oil to be found in its own territorial waters. Tullow's drilling off Suriname has so far come up short, but immediately after the find the company said it would deepen its wells to calibrate the deeper geology. Its confidence seemed to have been sufficient attraction for Chevron.
Coincidentally, Chevron pulled-out of Suriname's gas station market last year, when it closed 20 stations that operated under the Texaco brand in the country. Staatsolie acquired the gas stations so it has its own distribution network when its new refinery becomes operational by 2014.
Source: news.caribseek.com / The Daily Herald