Liza oil find in Guyana sparks regional rush

first_imgSuriname’s State-controlled Staatsolie is in negotiations with six international oil companies for rights to a pair of new deepwater blocks after closing invitations to bid for the acreage, as the Liza oil find in Guyana sparks a regional land rush.According to the US Upstream Oil and Gas Newspaper, Staatsolie created Block 59 in the north-west corner of the country’s maritime area along the border with Guyana, as well as a second block, Block 60, that lies east of Block 54, which had previously been the easternmost defined block off of Suriname.Staatsolie has seen a rush of international explorers after the ExxonMobil-operated Liza find on the Stabroek block off of Guyana, which is now estimated to contain between 800 million and 1.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil.“The Liza discovery (Guyana) and Zaedyus (French Guiana) are along the same trend line. Nobody has yet drilled a well in Suriname that actually applies the lessons of Liza.”“Activity has been confined to the shelf, but we are now seeing more interest further out to the north,” said August Nelson, manager of the exploration division of Staatsolie.The first proposal for new acreage was submitted in May from a company interested in the area that would become Block 59 in the north-west.By August 16 this year, Staatsolie had received four proposals for acreage in the north-west and decided to close the “open door invitation for bids” for the area.And by September 7, Staatsolie had also received two bids for acreage in the Block 60 area in the eastern portion of its offshore zone, and the Government decided to close bidding until September 2017.Staatsolie is now in negotiations with the six companies that submitted proposals to agree on terms of a production sharing contract for each of the blocks.The results are said to be a far cry from the last time Staatsolie offered acreage, when Apache was awarded Block 58 along the Guyana border in May 2015 after lacklustre interest in additional acreage from other operators.Now Suriname has become the focus for operators looking to gain exposure to the Guyana-Suriname offshore basin due to a lack of available acreage off Guyana.ExxonMobil and partners, Hess of the US and CNOOC subsidiary Nexen, control the massive Stabroek Block in Guyana. ExxonMobil recently took significant stakes and operator ships in the neighbouring Canje Block and the ultra-deep Kaieteur Block.Repsol is understood to be favoured in the negotiations for Block C, an ultra-deepwater block on the Guyana side of the maritime border with Suriname.The remaining ultra-deep block, Roraima, is controlled by Anadarko Petroleum, but remains under force majeure due to the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela.Consequently, operators have looked to the continuation of the Liza trend into Suriname for access to the emerging play.In May, Hess farmed in for a one-third interest in Block 42 off Suriname from partners Kosmos Energy and Chevron.last_img read more