US$ 150 million for Suriname offshore oil exploration

(De Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – Staatsolie celebrated its 31st birthday yesterday by signing three production sharing contracts with oil multinationals Kosmos Energy and Murphy Oil for Blocks 42/45 and 48 respectively. The contracts have 30 year validity. It is remarkable that the companies have opted for production sharing contracts while 2 and 3D seismic surveys are pending. Seismic survey cost close to US$35 million, but Staatsolie managing director Marc Waaldijk says these costs can increase considering the US$120 million for drilling an exploration well. The costs are high since this is deep sea exploration at depths of close to 3,000 meters. One other remarkable fact is that Kosmos Energy is the same company that has struck oil and gas off Ghana with its advanced technology. The same geological structure has been determined on this side of the Atlantic and other companies have recently struck oil off French Guiana. These developments favor interest for oil exploration off the Suriname coast.

Natural resources Minister Jim Hok says that the odds have gone up for Suriname now that oil has been struck off French Guiana. ‘It’s major oil strike in French Guiana, we have onshore strikes and there is oil in Venezuela. You can imagine that the chance we strike oil has increased.’ Marc Waaldijk is convinced that Staatsolie has made solid deals with the two foreign companies. The deal with Kosmos states that next to the usual conditions including royalties, tax on profits and income tax, Suriname has the option to buy shares if there is an oil strike. For block 42 Suriname may acquire a 10 percent share, while for block 45 and 47 the option is 15 and 20 percent respectively.