Suriname has long history of respecting oil agreements – Staatsolie CEO

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Rudolf Elias, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer - Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname N.V

Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname N.V Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Rudolf Elias, says the Dutch-speaking South American country has a long history of respecting agreements with International Oil Companies (IOCs) and this continues to play a key role in forging alliances for the exploitation of hydrocarbon resources.

Speaking in the March 2018 edition of Energy Digital Magazine, Mr. Elias said Staatsolie – Suriname’s state oil company – recognizes that it cannot deliver alone on the objectives of exploring the Guyana-Suriname basin, and as such, close relationships with IOCs have been integral to its success.

“Suriname has a long history of respecting the agreements with IOCs and this is perhaps one of our strongest assets,” he said. The CEO added, “It is also one of the reasons we have been so successful in attracting all these IOCs. We are working with big names…such as ExxonMobil, Kosmos, Petronas, Tullow and Statoil. All of these companies are working closely with us in order to search for oil offshore and this is because of our history of being fair towards them.”

Mr. Elias said these companies have the necessary technology and experience to do deep sea drilling and “without them, we wouldn’t be able to find oil.”

Hopes of a major offshore oil discovery in Suriname have risen in recent years following the 2015 world class Liza discovery made by ExxonMobil in neighboring Guyana. Since that time ExxonMobil, in partnership with Hess and CNOOC Nexen, has made multiple discoveries amounting to more than 3.2 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

Mr. Elias’ comments come at a time when calls are being made in Guyana for a renegotiation of the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) that country has with ExxonMobil. Some sections of the society have said terms outlined in the PSA should have been more favorable to the country but government officials have maintained that at the time the agreement was signed in 1999, it was not yet known that the country had reserves amounting to billions of barrels of oil, and as such, under the circumstances the deal was fair.

Separate studies conducted by industry analysts Wood Mackenzie and Rystad Energy also show that the Guyana-ExxonMobil PSA is in line with similar frontier countries around the world.

An IMF report commissioned by the Guyana government in 2017 recommended that going forward, the country should amend its tax laws and terms outlined in its PSAs; a recommendation which has since been taken on board by Guyanese authorities.

Both the company and Guyana government officials have called for the sanctity of the contract to be respected.

Meanwhile, offshore exploration continues in Suriname with the most recent drill campaign being undertaken by Kosmos Energy at Anapai-1 in Block 45 where the company holds a 50% working interest.