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Former Staatsolie boss says large volumes of gas will deliver cheap energy in hottest new basin

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South America’s hottest new basin where billions of barrels of oil discovered over the past six years have brought world-wide attention is set to deliver large volumes of gas says a former head of Suriname state oil company, Staatsolie.

“Our blocks are a lot smaller than the Stabroek Block that is in Guyana,” said Rudolf Elias, Senior Advisor at EY Caribbean and former CEO of Staatsolie. With reference to the BonBoni discovery, he pointed out that all the factors needed in order to have a new oil field are present in the deepwater offshore Suriname.  “I mean we had trap, we had a seal, we had very nice, good oil and we had a good reservoir.”

Elias was speaking at the time on an Americas Market Intelligence (AMI) panel held on December 9 titled Guyana & Suriname: Developing a Low Carbon Strategy in Emerging Oil Markets.

He said new drill campaigns set to get underway next year by Shell and Apache are very promising.

“We all look of course, very eager towards what they will find there. We know that Exxon together with Petronas found a lot of gas in 52, also they…are now working on a drilling program,” the former Staatsolie boss pointed out.

Chevron is partnered with Shell and Hess in Suriname’s Block 42 and held a 50% stake in the now relinquished Block 45. Previous operator Kosmos Energy in 2018 drilled the wildcats Pontoenoe-1 in Block 42 and Anapai-1 in Block 45, without finding hydrocarbons. Shell took over the operatorship last year after buying Kosmos’s interests in Suriname and several other countries.

“We still have a lot of prospectivity in Suriname. I always say we are just scratching the surface with the drilling that we did so far,” Elias said. “If you compare us to, for example, the North Sea or the Gulf of Mexico, there is a lot more to come both for Guyana and Suriname and I’m positive that in the end it will all be gas that we will be looking at. And gas of course will give us cheap energy, and cheap energy will give us a lot of employment.”

Suriname is expected to follow Guyana with rapid development of its offshore oil fields. Norway independent energy research and business intelligence company Rystad Energy sees output from the South American country hitting the half million barrels per day mark at peak in the coming years, from the discoveries made so far.

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