PARAMARIBO, Suriname: Well ahead of planning, international oil company Repsol-YPF has completed initial explorations offshore Suriname and is gearing up to commence drilling, a Suriname oil official here has confirmed.
"The (Repsol-YPF) is well ahead of schedule for drilling an exploratory well", said Marny Daal-Vogelland, Manager Exploration and Production Contracts at Suriname's state-owned oil company Staatsolie.
On April 24, 2004 Repsol-YPF signed a production sharing contract with Staatsolie for the exploration and production of oil in Block 30, which is 100 km offshore Suriname.
Drilling could take place as early as the first quarter in 2008, "but definitely within the first half year," she added during an interview.
Although the exploration data has already been analysed due to high demands for drilling rigs, the activities were postponed.
"Due to the high price of oil in the international market it is very difficult to hire drilling equipment", said the official.
The oil rig which will drill the test-well is currently in Trinidad and will be directed to Suriname after completing its assignment in Trinidad.
According to Daal-Vogelland, Repsol-YPF has invested some US$40 million in explorations. By virtue of the production and sharing contract all exploration activities are being financed by Repsol-YPF.
"Oil explorations are a very risky business and in stage of the operations Repsol-YPF is taking all the risks," she said.
In 2005, Repsol YPF completed its own seismic exploration of offshore Block 30 while seismic data collected by Staatsolie and Maersk Oil during the end of 2004 and the beginning of 2005 has been processed.
Meanwhile, a three-dimensional (3D) seismic evaluation of offshore Block 30 has also been completed, which enabled parties to more easily drill an offshore exploratory well. Repsol-YPF, Noble Energy and Occidental financed the cost of the seismic evaluation, for more than US$15 million.
These companies formed a consortium, which is responsible for the further exploration of and eventual development in this block. Repsol-YPF remains the operator responsible for the daily operations.
Block 30 has a surface area of approximately 18,600 km2 and is in the Guyana-Suriname basin, where oil is currently produced at the lucrative Tambaredjo and Calcutta fields near Paramaribo by Staatsolie. The production sharing contract has been signed for thirty years.
Beside Suriname, Repsol-YPF operates several exploration blocks in the region in Venezuela and Cuba. The company is currently producing approximately 220,000 barrels oil per day at operations in Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela.