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Apache sets course for big exploration investments in Suriname

US independent to accelerate exploration and appraisal drilling in Block 58 with operator Total

US independent Apache has unveiled plans to invest $200 million in exploration activities this year, with nearly all of it to be used to advance drilling operations in prolific Block 58 off Suriname where it is joined by French giant Total.

Apache intends to participate in the drilling of a series of exploration and appraisal wells in Suriname this year, although the company could not precise how many will be spudded.

Apache made a quartet of oil discoveries — Maka Central-1, Sapakara West-1, Kwaskwasi-1 and Keskesi East-1 — in Block 58 before concluding a few weeks ago the transfer of operatorship in the licence to Total.

Since then, Total has chartered two rigs from Maersk Drilling to run operations in Block 58.

The semi-submersible Maersk Developer is currently drilling the Sapakara West-2 appraisal well, while the drillship Maersk Valiant is due to arrive in Suriname next month.

Once on location, the rig will be used first to spud the BonBoni-1 wildcat in the northern portion of the block.

Apache is also drilling to deeper Neocomian-aged objectives in the Keskesi East-1 well with the Noble Corporation drillship Noble Sam Croft, which was sublet from ExxonMobil and is set to return to the US supermajor for work off Guyana in April.

“We have got two rig programmes here. We drilled three-plus wells with one rig last year on the exploration front,” Apache chief executive John Christmann told investors in a conference call.

“Some of the appraisal wells could go quicker because you have now got penetrations in the basin, but some of these might take longer because of flow tests,” he said, adding the exploration and appraisal campaigns will move concurrently.

Christmann also shed more colour on why the partners decided to first appraise Sapakara West.

“The first four wells are really four different deep-water turbidite channel systems. They are placed where potentially you could do some overlap, so the nice thing about where Sapakara West-2 is placed is it will be appraising aspects of both Sapakara and Kwaskwasi,” he said.

Drilling of Sapakara West-2 is expected to determine flow rates and connectivity, as the partners eye first oil from Block 58 in 2025.

Christmann refrained from making further comments on the drilling timeline, just saying the companies will be moving on the appraisal wells they think could be fast-tracked.

Total operates Block 58 with a 50% stake, with Apache holding the remaining 50%.

Source: Upstream | This text was excerpted from the media outlet cited on February 26, 2021 and is provided to Noia members for information purposes only. Any opinion expressed therein is neither attributable to nor endorsed by Noia.