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Guyana signs offshore oil exploration agreement with Spain's Repsol
Published on May 16, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- Spanish-based oil exploration company, Repsol, and the Guyana government on Tuesday finalised a petroleum agreement and licence for the company to continue to undertake oil exploration in the shelfal waters of Guyana’s exclusive economic zone.

The agreement was signed by President Donald Ramotar, who is the minister responsible for petroleum, and the final signature was affixed on Tuesday by the director of exploration, Latin America Repsol, Joseba Murillas, in the presence of minister of natural resources and the environment, Robert Persaud.

Persaud expressed gratitude on behalf of the government and Ramotar to be working with Repsol again. He added that the government has had a number of months of negotiations, discussions and possible options of interest with Repsol to continue to allow Guyana to fulfill its dream of being an oil and gas producer.

Discussions had commenced in mid 2012 with Repsol, the Natural Resources Ministry and Guyana Geology and Mines (GGMC) in anticipation of the expiration of the petroleum prospecting licence which was granted for the Georgetown Block where the Jaguar #1 was recently drilled, providing cautious optimism about prospects for Guyana’s effort in promoting exploration for petroleum in that domain.

Persaud added that the ministry has also renewed several licences for CGX and other companies, and that government welcomes capacity building, especially in the area of human resources. Discussions about skills needed to manage the oil and gas sector have been taken to Cabinet, according to the minister. A team from the Commonwealth Secretariat is currently advising the government on policy initiatives on how to prepare proper mechanisms and updating and modernising legislation in this regard.

“Repsol has their own University that Guyanese can be trained there … we do encourage and we do insist that Guyanese are not only the cooks and cleaners, but we also become technical persons with basic skills available if the companies work with us,” explained Persaud.

Manager of GGMC’s Petroleum Division, Newell Dennison, explained that the licence for the exploration of petroleum in Guyana was granted in November 2012 and this new updated licence is to continue going forward with the exploration.

Murillas expressed satisfaction with the finalisation of the agreement, noting that Repsol is committed to working with the government of Guyana.

Representatives from Repsol presented Persaud some of oil that was obtained from the Jaguar well last year.

The new petroleum prospecting licence and its accompanying production sharing agreement cover an area approximately 6,525 sq. km. within the sedimentary basin offshore Guyana and approximately 100 miles seawards of the mouth of the Berbice River. Repsol is anxious to commence work which includes new 2D and 3D marine seismic acquisition in the first phase, to be followed by an exploration well in the second phase of the licence which has been granted for an initial period of four years.

Repsol was operator for the consortium of companies that included Tullow Guyana BV; YPF Guyana Ltd; and CGX Resources Inc., and has been present in Guyana’s corporate landscape since 1997 by virtue of Maxus Guyana Ltd, the company that was at that time formerly awarded the Georgetown Block.

The Spanish-based company is considered among the top international petroleum firms and has a Guyana office.

The petroleum prospecting licence and agreement comes at a time when drilling on several fronts has occurred in Guyana recently and on the heels of the award of new licences offshore for concession acreage to Anadarko Guyana Company and CGX Resources Inc., and at a time when there has been a sustained interest in the potential for commercial petroleum discoveries in Guyana’s maritime areas.
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