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Exxon, Hess, Statoil Sign Oil Exploration Deals Offshore Suriname

ExxonMobil, Hess Corporation, and Statoil have signed 30-year production sharing contracts with Suriname’s state oil company Staatsolie for two blocks offshore Suriname, not far from one of the biggest recent discoveries: Liza offshore Guyana.

A consortium of Exxon, Hess, and Statoil signed on Thursday a production sharing contract for Block 59, with each company holding a third of the interest. Statoil also signed a deal for Block 60 where it has a 100-percent interest and the operatorship.

“For the exploration period, a minimum work program was agreed, during which geological research, seismic data collection and exploration drilling will be performed, among others. The consortium and Statoil will pay all costs in the exploration phases, and these will only be paid back after a commercial discovery is made which is brought into production,” Suriname’s Staatsolie said, adding that under the deals it will be able to take up to 10 percent in the development and production phases. 

Block 59 is 2.8 million acres, or 4,430 square miles, and shares a maritime border with Guyana, where Exxon is the operator of three offshore blocks, including the Liza field discovered by Exxon in 2015, the U.S. supermajor said in a statement, adding that preparations are under way to begin exploration activities offshore Suriname.

Statoil, for its part, said on Friday that “Block 59 is a potential extension of the trend on which the Liza discovery was made in neighbouring Guyana.”

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“This is frontier acreage with high potential, sitting on a trend of recent discoveries. This is in line with our global exploration strategy of accessing early in basins with high exploration potential,” Nick Maden, senior vice president for Exploration at Statoil, said.

Last month, Exxon said that it had made a final investment decision to proceed with the first phase of development of the Liza field offshore Guyana, which is expected to cost just over US$4.4 billion.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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