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Suriname seeks T&T energy partner

Published: 
Friday, August 8, 2014
Marny Y Daal-Vogelland, right, Staatsolie's manager of petroleum contracts, speaks with local investors during yesterday's luncheon hosted by the Energy Chamber at Cara Suites, La Romaine. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL.

Suriname's state oil company Staatsolie is inviting T&T oil and gas companies to increase their footprint in Suriname by looking at two new onshore blocks on offer for joint exploration and production. 

At an Energy Chamber luncheon at Cara Suites in Claxton Bay yesterday. Staatsolie manager for petroleum contracts Marny Daal invited locally operating energy companies, national and international, to participate in the ongoing offshore bid round in her country. She thanked Petrotrin and other T&T-based oil and gas companies and service providers for helping to bring Suriname's burgeoning oil province to where it is today.

"When we started out in the very early stages in the 1980s, we looked very, very closely to see where can we learn, and Petrotrin was made our closest and biggest ally. But we've probably outgrown them a little bit, since we've had our own refinery for the last 17 years now," she told reporters after her presentation. "Instead of sending it (oil) to Petrotrin, we now refine it at home."

Offshore Suriname is virtually un-explored, with only 25 exploration wells drilled in an area of approximately 150,000 square kilometers, she said. Offshore blocks 58, 59 and 60 are being offered through a competitive bid round closing January 30, 2015. The blocks are in depths varying from as shallow as 15 meters to 2,250 meters. Production sharing contracts (PSCs) of 20-25 years will be awarded, she said.

The onshore offering are Nickerie and Commewijne, two blocks next to already producing fields. Staatsolie managing director designate Rudolf Elias, who spoke before Daal, said Suriname produces 16-17,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd). 

Daal said Suriname decided to seek partnerships to operate the two onshore blocks rather than to put them out for bid. She said Staatsolie is inviting companies, after signing confidentiality agreements, to view already available data on the previously explored blocks, and present proposals. She said the offer is ideal for small and medium-sized companies as the required investment may not be as large as that for offshore and deep water drilling.

Elias, in his presentation, focused on Staatsolie's Refinery Expansion Project (REP), and spoke about opportunities from the US$900 million upgrade for local service and equipment providers. He forecast the refinery will generate US$100 million per year in additional cash income for Staatsolie upon completion. "This will mean US$50 million additional income per year for the state," Elias said.

He said the expansion project, conceived in 2004, was 87 per cent complete as at August 5. He said 7.5 million man hours have been worked at the site, with 5 million of those free of loss time incidents. The new refinery will produce diesel in addition to gasoline, he said. Some of the diesel will be exported to French Guiana and possibly Martinique, and Guadeloupe, he said. A sugar to ethanol plant is also included.

Suriname has 92.5 million barrels of proven reserves of oil (bbls), and 17.1 million bbls of probable reserves, Elias said.