After Another Discovery in Suriname, Apache and Total Change Direction

After a line of four discovery wells in Suriname, Total and Apache are going off trend with a well to see if the potentially huge play extends north as well.

Maersk Developer rig
The Maesk Developer is one of two rigs leased by Total for work in Block 58 off Suriname.
Source: Maersk Drilling

After hitting on four exploration wells in a row in Suriname, Total and Apache are looking forward to doing things differently in 2021.

The 50/50 partnership announced its latest discovery, Keskesi East-1, and successfully completing a line of successful wells running west to east across Block 58. As with the others, it found light oil and condensate in two intervals: the Campanian pay was 190 ft thick, and the Santonian was 16 ft thick.

Looking ahead, the direction of the effort changes.

The most literal of them is the plan for the next well, Bonboni, which will be drilled in the northern part of the block.

“The first four wells, we had lined up to kind of go across just one direction. They're on trend with the wells that have been drilled in the blocks, both to our east and west there's now a rig running in— on the other side of us,” said John Christmann, chief executive officer for Apache, in a call with analysts in November.

Just to the east in Block 52, Petronas and ExxonMobil announced a discovery in December that extends the line. They have not offered any details about the well.

In another change this year in Block 58, Total is running the operation as of 1 January.

“We are excited, as new operator of the block, to start the appraisal operations designed to characterize the 2020 discoveries, while in parallel start a second exploration campaign on this prolific block in 2021.” said Kevin McLachlan, senior vice president–Exploration at Total.

To do so they will shift from one to two rigs to speed exploration and evaluation work in the block that is the equivalent of 250 blocks in the US Gulf of Mexico.

“We are anxious to move out more toward the kind of the north central part and start to show just that dimension of this in terms of the block. So, it's exciting,” Christmann said.

Source: Total

Bonboni made a list of 20 high-impact wells to watch this year from Westwood Global Energy Group. The result is likely to be of great interest to those who have leased the blocks in Suriname, most of which are north and east of the initial discovery wells.

They will also be shooting for other targets. The Keskesi well report mentioned that drilling had continued deeper to evaluate “Neocomian-aged targets.” It is one of a handful of intervals that might yield more oil.

Based on the geological evaluation, there appear to be other productive internals.

“We've seen eight different play types on Block 58. And to date, we've tested two,” said Christmann. He added the Turonian was the next target. Apache attempted to drill down to it in the discovery well, the Maka Central-1, but were blocked by high pressure.

“It's just a matter of figuring out when and which well we want to do that with. We think there's great potential there. And then, there's really five other types,” he said.

The upcoming wells will be drilled by the Maersk Valiant and the Maersk Developer, which drilled the nearby well for Petronas and ExxonMobil.