ExxonMobil, Statoil to operate Blocks 59, 60 off Suriname

An ExxonMobil Corp.-led group and Statoil ASA have been chosen to respectively operate two blocks offshore Suriname.

ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Suriname BV, along with partners Statoil and Hess Corp., have signed a production-sharing contract with Suriname’s state-owned Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname NV for the 11,500-sq-km deepwater Block 59. ExxonMobil will serve as operator.

Block 59 is 305 km offshore Paramaribo in 2,000-3,600 m of water. It shares a maritime border with Guyana, where ExxonMobil is operator of three offshore blocks, including the one that holds Liza field, where the firm last month made a final investment decision on the first phase of development (OGJ Online, June 16, 2017).

Block 59 also is next to Suriname’s Block 42, where Hess, a Liza partner with ExxonMobil, already has 33.3% interest and Kosmos Energy Ltd. is operator.

Block 59 partners are preparing to begin exploration activities, including acquisition and analysis of seismic data. ExxonMobil, Hess, and Statoil each hold a third of the block’s interest.

Statoil separately signed a PSC with Staatsolie for the 6,200-sq-km Block 60. It lies 250 km offshore in 800-1,900 m of water and is next to Suriname’s Block 54, where Statoil already has 50% interest and Tullow Oil PLC is operator. Block 54 is the site of the Araku prospect on which drilling is planned for this year’s second half. The prospect is a large structural trap that has an estimated resource potential of 500 million bbl of oil.

The agreements for Blocks 59 and 60 are part of Staatsolie’s “Open Door Policy Offshore Suriname,” which took place from September 2015 to September 2016 and allowed bidding from international oil companies. The agreements are effective 30 years.

As part of the contracts, the firms during the exploration phase will pay all costs, which only will be reimbursed if a commercial discovery is made and brought into production. Staatsolie has the option to participate for up to 10% in the development and production phases.

Contact Matt Zborowski at matthewz@ogjonline.com.

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