Norwegian energy giant Statoil has taken a 30% stake in a deepwater exploration block with Tullow Oil off South America.
The move, which will see Tullow retain 70% interest in Block 47, will be Statoil’s first entry into Suriname. It already holds assets in neighbouring Brazil as well as in Venezuela.
The 914 sq mile block lies in a frontier area in the Guyana Basin.
A statement from Statoil said a recent discovery offshore nearby French Guiana was a promising indication of the potential in the region.
A 772 sq mile 3D seismic survey of the area is due to start imminently. Subject to results of the survey, exploration drilling could start in 2014.
Angus McCoss, exploration director at Tullow, said: “This farm-down reflects our approach to sharing geological risks and realising early value in an exciting frontier exploration campaign.
“We are delighted that Statoil has joined us in this new oil exploration region in South America that was opened by Tullow’s successful Zaedyus well offshore French Guiana earlier this year.”
The deal will be subject to approval from Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname, Suriname’s state oil company with which Tullow signed a production sharing contract for the block in September 2010.
“This frontier opportunity constitutes an important part of our growing international portfolio,” said Pal Haremo, senior vice president in exploration global new ventures in Statoil.
“This co-operation is about executing on Statoil’s exploration strategy of securing early access opportunities with emerging potential.”