OIL: Suriname poised to bag hundreds of US$millions in signing bonuses

… capitalises on Guyana’s oil and gas discoveries

The State-owned oil company and regulator of Suriname’s oil industry, Staatsolie, is set to reap vast benefits when it starts selling stakes in a large area of its shallow waters, by year end.

Staatsolie Managing Director & CEO, Rudolf Elias

The value of those waters to oil and gas companies around the world has been buttressed by ExxonMobil’s discoveries in Guyana’s Stabroek Block.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Staatsolie, Rudolf Elias, elaborated on this during Spotlight on Energy yesterday (Feb 3, 2020)

Spotlight on Energy is an annual energy conference held in Trinidad & Tobago, hosted by the country’s Energy Chamber.

The Dutch-speaking nation struck oil last month in Block 58, thanks to Apache and Total.

The Block, Elias said, is bigger than Trinidad and Tobago. Revealing a map of Block 58 and other surrounding blocks during the conference, Elias elicited chuckles from the audience at the location of the block, as it is the closest block to ExxonMobil’s 16 material discoveries in the lucrative Stabroek Block.

Staatsolie is in extremely interesting times, the Director said.

Capitalising even further on its opportunities, the company has been studying a large shallow water acreage offshore Suriname, for which it has amassed a wealth of data.

On its website, the State-run oil company explained how its work in the near shore areas, though not yielding material discoveries, have already done enough to confirm the “potential” of oil in the coastal area.

Kaieteur News has reported on how data amassed about certain areas could increase the value of the acreage. It is for the same reason that Guyana has been urged by industry experts to ensure it publishes data on relinquished blocks as soon as possible.

Map showing Staatsolie Study Area and other Suriname Blocks (Staatsolie)

In Suriname’s case, the Staatsolie CEO said that the acreage has already become a very attractive destination. Hence, the company will be looking to farm down the stakes.

He added that the company will not sell out entirely, but that it will look to form joint ventures with interested parties.

“We want to put it on the market somewhere in the second half of 2020,” he said.

Called the ‘Staatsolie Study Area’, the large acreage has the potential to be split into several blocks. It is located in proximity to certain hotspots identified by Elias, including the Stabroek Block, Apache’s Block 58, and a large source rock Suriname believes it has identified.

The country could rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in signing bonuses for the shallow water block(s). It has already started to do so for its Blocks since ExxonMobil’s continued de-risking of the Guyana-Suriname basin.

For instance, Total agreed to pay Apache US$100M for a 50 percent stake in Block 58. That amounts to more than five times the paltry US$18M Guyana took from ExxonMobil for the 6.6 million acre Stabroek Block.
Suriname’s opportunities don’t end there.

Elias revealed that Apache has identified more than 50 drillable prospects in Block 58.

Other oil companies are also preparing to drill in other Suriname Blocks.

American oil major, Kosmos Energy, is preparing to drill in the Block immediately North of Apache’s recent discovery.

The British company, Tullow Oil, is set to start drilling by year end in a remote offshore Block, further out at sea.
Petronas, a Malaysian oil company, is courting partners so that it could try its luck in Suriname too.

All this Elias revealed, stating “We have a very exciting year ahead of us.”

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  • brandli62  On 02/05/2020 at 5:06 am

    The advantage of coming in second and being able to capitalize on Guyana’s ground work….

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