Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 14th 2014 Contents Caricom member country Suri-
name will be the first regional
member state to have a well
drilled in the deepwater as
American outfit, Apache Suri-
name Corporation LDC, a
subsidiary of Apache Corporation, will spud
its first exploration well sometime between
February and April 2015.
The well is to be drilled 80 miles off the
coast of Suriname in the Suriname Guyana
Basin. This was confirmed by Marny Daal-
Vogeeland, Staatsolie s manager of petroleum
contracts, who said the well will be drilled to
5,000 metres or 16,400 feet and will be drilled
in 650 feet of water.
In 2012, Apache signed a production sharing
contract for Block 53 with Staatsolie
Maatschappij Suriname NV --- the Surinamese
national oil company following a competitive
bid round. The acreage covers 3,509 square
kilometres (1,355 square miles) in water depths
of 1,640-5,900 ft (500-1,800 m), about 80
miles (130 km) offshore.
Under the production sharing contract,
Block 53 has a work programme that included
3-D seismic, geological surveys and two explo-
ration wells. Under the 30-year contract
Apache will take full responsibility for all costs
during the exploration phase. If a commercial
find is made and brought into production,
Apache will receive reimbursement for such
Speaking with the Business Guardian fol-
lowing a presentation at a luncheon hosted
by the Energy Chamber, Daal-Vogeeland said
Apache and its partner were working on a
theory that Block 53 is on trend with the large
Zaedyus discovery offshore French Guiana;
an indication that the Equatorial Margin play
fairway may extend to the west side of the
The exploration period was expected to cost
Apache and its partner US$230 million and
the production sharing contract explicitly deals
with inspection, safety and the environment.
There are also special provisions for employ-
ment of local cadre, training, social programmes
and the dismantling of facilities at the end of
Meanwhile, Daal-Vogeeland also announced
that Staatsolie has put out three deepwater
blocks for bids. The blocks are 58, 59 and 60
and are in the Atlantic Ocean, East of Suriname
in the Suriname/Guyana basin.
The Suriname-Guyana Basin is charac-
terised by the presence of a world-class source
rock of Cenomanian-Turonian age, the Canje
Formation. This source rock is the lateral
equivalent of the La Luna shale in Venezuela
and Naparima in T&T.
Oil from this source has been produced
from the Tambaredjo, Calcutta and Tam-
baredjo Northwest oil-fields onshore Suriname
and some of the characteristics of the Ceno-
manian/Turonian Source Rock are thickness:
up to 550m, TOC or the quantity of organic
carbon (both kerogen and bitumen) in a rock
sample 4.0-7.0 per cent in shelf break setting,
up to 30 per cent in deepwater setting.
Block 58 is 5,844 square kilometres and is
in water depths ranging from 55 metres to
250 metres, block 59 is larger at 9,800,52
square kilometres in 25 metres to 50 metres
while block 60 is 10,105 square kilometres in
15 metres to 55 metres of water.
The oil executive said she expects significant
interest in the bid round which closes in Jan-
uary 2015. She said her optimism was based
on the fact that the oil and gas companies
were asked to decide which blocks they would
be interested in before the blocks were put
out for bids.
In an interview the Business Guardian,
Daal-Vogeeland said: "I think there will be
significant interest because we had a nom-
ination process and we asked the makor oil
and gas companies to tell us what blocks they
wanted us to put out and they nominated a
number of blocks and we chose the best three
that had their support and met with our overall
She said the blocks offer enough room to
explore and based on the available data Staat-
solie has identified several play concepts and
There are several T&T companies operating
AUGUST 2014 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
ENERGY | BG9
Energy companies are taking their controversial fracking operations
from the land to the sea---to deep waters off the US, South American
and African coasts.
Cracking rocks underground to allow oil and gas to flow more
freely into wells has grown into one of the most lucrative industry
practices of the past century. The technique is also widely con-
demned as a source of groundwater contamination. The question
now is how will that debate play out as the equipment moves
out into the deep blue. For now, caution from all sides is the
"It s the most challenging, harshest environment that we ll be
working in," said Ron Dusterhoft, an engineer at Halliburton Co,
the world s largest fracker. "You just can t afford hiccups."
Offshore fracking is a part of a broader industrywide strategy
to make billion-dollar deep-sea developments pay off. The practice
has been around for two decades yet only in the past few years
have advances in technology and vast offshore discoveries combined
to make large scale fracking feasible.
While fracking is also moving off the coasts of Brazil and Africa,
the big play is in the Gulf of Mexico, where wells more than 100
miles from the coastline must traverse water depths of a mile or
more and can cost almost US$100 million to drill.
Those expensive drilling projects are a boon for oil service
providers such as Halliburton, Baker Hughes Inc and Superior
Energy Services Inc, Schlumberger Ltd, which provides offshore
fracking gear for markets outside the US Gulf, also stands to get
new work. And producers such as Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch
Shell Plc and BP Plc may reap billions of dollars in extra revenue
over time as fracking helps boost crude output.
Fracking in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to grow by more
than 10 per cent over a two-year period ending in 2015, said
Douglas Stephens, president of pressure pumping at Baker Hughes,
which operates about a third of the world s offshore fracking fleet.
That s a reasonable and worthwhile investment, as the industry
grapples with the challenge of "how to best fracture and stimulate
the rocks" bearing crude oil, said Cindy Yielding, director of
appraisal at BP.
At sea, water flowing back from fracked wells is cleaned up on
large platforms near the well by filtering out oil and other con-
taminants. The treated wastewater is then dumped overboard into
the vast expanse of the Gulf of Mexico, where dilution renders
it harmless, according to companies and regulators.
The treatment process is mandated under Environmental Pro-
tection Agency regulations. In California, where producers are
fracking offshore in existing fields, critics led by the Environmental
Defense Center have asked federal regulators to ban the practice
off the West Coast until more is known about its effects.
Offshore fracking in the Gulf of Mexico should also be subject
to a detailed environmental review, said Tony Knap, director of
the geochemical and environmental research group at Texas A&M
University. The concern is that chemicals used in the fracking
fluid that s released in the Gulf could harm sea life or upset the
ecosystem, said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Centre
for Biological Diversity.
"One of the key problems is nobody has really looked at the
environmental impacts of offshore fracking, and we find that
incredibly concerning," she said in an interview. "Nobody knows
what they ve been discharging and in what amounts."
A spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Agency was
not aware of any studies having been done on the impact of
offshore fracking as the practice has long been viewed as "a some-
what short-term discharge and often mixed with other discharges."
To frack some of the world s biggest offshore wells, roughly
seven million pounds of people and gear, including rock-crushing
engines and tonnes of sand to prop open cracks in the rock, must
be crammed onto a 300-foot-long ship, called a stimulation ves-
sel.Oil service companies have increased the global fleet of fracking
ships by 31 per cent since 2007, according to a survey by Offshore
Magazine, creating a market almost as large as Russia s onshore
industry. The pumping horsepower used to frack wells---a measure
of supply---is expected to grow another 28 per cent by the end
of 2018, to 1.2 million horsepower, estimates Houston-based
PacWest Consulting Partners.
First deepwater well for Suriname
Deepwater fracking next frontier for offshore drilling
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