Operators to spud exploration well on Block 53 offshore Suriname in 2015

Apache Suriname Corp. LDC, a subsidiary of Apache Corp., Houston, will spud its first exploration well in February-April 2015, 80 miles offshore Suriname in the Suriname Guyana basin. The well will be drilled to 5,000 m in 650 ft of water, as confirmed by Marny Daal-Vogeeland, Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname NV’s manager of petroleum contracts.

Apache in 2012 signed a production-sharing contract for Block 53 with Staatsolie—the Surinamese national oil company—following a competitive bid round. The acreage covers 3,509 sq km in 1,640-5,900 ft of water.

Under the PSC, Block 53 has a work program that included 3D seismic, geological surveys, and the drilling of two exploration wells. Under the 30-year contract, Apache will take full responsibility for all costs during the exploration phase. If a commercial find is made and brought into production, Apache will receive reimbursement for such costs.

Subsequently to acquiring the Block, CEPSA Suriname SL farmed into a 25% participating interest in Block 53; Apache retained 75% interest (OGJ Online, Dec. 13, 2013). Staatsolie has an option to obtain a 20% interest in commercial fields discovered on the block.

Daal-Vogeeland told OGJ that they were working on a theory that Block 53 is on trend with the large Zaedyus discovery offshore French Guiana—an indication that the Equatorial Margin play fairway may extend to the west side of the Atlantic (OGJ Online, July 23, 2013; Dec. 4, 2012; July 17, 2012).

The exploration period was expected to cost Apache and its partner $230 million and the PSC explicitly deals with inspection, safety, and the environment. There also are special provisions for employment of local cadre, training, social programs, and the dismantling of facilities at the end of operations.

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