“Striking oil takes time’, Roland Spuij, Exploration and Development Asset Manager emphasizes. He is aware of the mounting pressure on his division, now that chances have increased in making a commercially recoverable find in the ten projected nearshore drilling locations. ‘Chances to strike oil are approximately 85 percent if ten wells are drilled.’
The drilling locations have been determined after all data, including the seismic data of the near shore, were evaluated in detail. This initially resulted in determining twenty potential oil accumulations from which the ten most promising have been selected. ‘Everyone must be aware of all the work that should be done before the first exploration well can be drilled in April 2019. We don’t want to leave anything to chance and that means that we adhere to world class standards.’
Armed with the project dossier, Staatsolie will soon start an international charm offensive to attract partners for development of the nearshore area. The Supervisory board has recently given the green light for an investment of US$ 80 million, approximately SRD 600 million, for drilling the ten wells. ‘Although we can finance the project by ourselves, we will still search for a foreign partner to spread the financial risks. Staatsolie will remain primarily responsible for the project’, Roland explains. Nearshore is the area off the coast with water depths varying between 0 and 30 meters. Ten wells will be drilled varying in depth from 800 meters to 2.5 kilometers from the seabed. The nearshore project is crucial for finding additional commercial reserves as the existing Calcutta, Tambaredjo and Tambaredjo North West production fields have a finite life.
Lessons learned from Block 4
In studying the data and while preparing the drilling operations for the nearshore wells, the lessons learned from carrying out the Block 4 project in 2014 have been included. All processes that have been applied during that project, from exploration evaluation and logistics through drilling the wells, have been evaluated. ‘We’ve paid attention not only to the things we should do in the same manner, but more importantly to what we should do differently.’
Nearshore is a relatively shallow area at sea to approximately 40 kilometers off the coast, which belongs to the Surinamese territorial waters. Water depths vary between 0 and 30 meters. Staatsolie has received permission from the State to explore for and develop oil and gas in this area. It extends 11,250 km2 (an area as large as the districts of Para, Nickerie and Commewijne together) and has been divided in the Blocks A through D. It borders Guyana in the west and French Guiana in the east and is part of the Suriname-Guyana basin. With potential oil reserves exceeding 15 billion barrels, international oil experts consider this basin as one of the largest in the world.
Outline map of the nearshore area. Drilling will take place in the Blocks A through C.