Updated: 18th August - to include information on the drillship contracted by Tullow. 

The United States Geological Survey ranks the Guyana- Suriname Basin as the second most prospective, underexplored offshore oil basin with an estimated 13.6 billion barrels of oil and 32 trillion cubic feet of natural gas yet to be discovered. Apart from the Exxon successes in Guyana, interest has once again turned to Suriname. 

Tullow has kept Suriname as part of its new ventures portfolio. Plans are ongoing to drill the high-impact Araku prospect (Tullow: 30%), offshore Suriname, in Q4 of 2017. The deepwater block will be drilled in Block 54, which Tullow has operated since 2013. Partners on the block are Statoil and Noble Energy. The block is 8,854km2, in waters 1,000m deep and is 200km offshore Suriname. 

According to Tullow this prospect is a large structural trap which has a resource potential estimated at over 500 mmbo.  Tullow has contracted the Noble Bob Douglas drillship to drill the well between October and November 2017, at an undisclosed day-rate. 

On 13 July 2017, Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname N.V. concluded production-sharing contracts for two offshore blocks. For Block 59, an agreement was signed with a consortium consisting of the oil companies ExxonMobil, Hess Corporation and Statoil. With Statoil, a contract was signed for Block 60. 

The agreements are the result of Staatsolie’s ‘Open Door Policy Offshore Suriname’, which ran from 15 September 2015 until 7 September 2016. International oil companies could bid on open offshore blocks during this period. Based on predefined selection criteriaBlocks 59 and 60 were awarded to the consortium and Statoil respectively. Negotiations with the parties started mid-October 2016. The agreements are effective for 30 years. 

Block 59 is approximately 11,500km2 in size and is situated about 400km off the coast, in water depths of more than 1,900m (ultra deep). Block 60, an area of 6,200km2, is situated about 250km off the coast, in water depths of 800 down to 1,900m. The Energy Chamber is currently planning a trade mission to Suriname in November to coincide with the Suriname International Mining, Energy and Petroleum (SURIMEP) conference.