Oil prospect similar to huge fields found off Brazil, Nigeria
- CGX says
June 12, 2000
THE Canadian CGX Energy Inc. firm says the oil prospect in its concession offshore Guyana is similar to huge fields discovered off the coasts of Angola, Brazil and Nigeria.
The company's plan to begin drilling for oil two Saturdays ago under licence from the Guyana Government was halted when gunboats from the Suriname Navy forced out the American-owned rig it has contracted.
Awarded the 1.7-million hectare Corentyne block in 1998, CGX analysed old and new seismic data as it raised US$9M to drill its first well.
The firm said the project, called Eagle, has the potential to hold 850-million barrels of oil.
The company does not have any partners in the exploratory hole, the first to be drilled in the area.
CGX spokesman Mr Dan Farrell told the Financial Post of Canada that CGX is paying US$30,000 per day in standby fees for the rig.
If the dispute drags on, CGX may drill a smaller but still substantial play in the region, he said.
Guyana has denied a Suriname claim that the rig was in that country's territory and the two countries are due to meet here tomorrow on a proposal to resolve the row.
Farrell said the border dispute has been festering for several years and he did not know why it flared up.
The Financial Post said the firm hopes talks between senior officials of the two countries will quickly resolve the problem.
"We think it's in the interest of both parties to get on with things. There is a lot of potential with the concessions that have been awarded," Farrel said.
CGX President, Mr Kerry Sully and directors Mr John Cullen and Mr Denis Clement flew here last week for talks on the situation with President Bharrat Jagdeo and the American and Canadian diplomatic missions in Georgetown.
Cullen said it was "highly disappointing" that the rig was forced out and CGX was awaiting further word from Guyana and the new government in Suriname.
CGX believes it has located two giant oilfields in its 15,464 square kilometre concession it was awarded by the Guyana Government.
"The potential is so large it has implications for both Suriname and Guyana...there are a string of pearls in Guyana and Suriname and all are large targets", Cullen told the Chronicle.
He said CGX was intent on drilling in its Guyana concession "because if we prove oil is in one the likelihood of there being numerous others increases dramatically."
There were at least five targets of tremendous oil potential in Guyana waters and at least four offshore Suriname, he said.
"If one turns up good the odds are the others will also be good", he said.
CGX said it has moved the rig to a safe location where it is on standby while talks continue between the two countries.
The Foreign Ministry here said that at the emergency ministerial meeting in Trinidad last week, Suriname undertook to inform the Guyana Government by tomorrow "what further steps were envisaged to ensure the unhindered return of the CGX rig."
It said the two sides agreed to establish a joint technical committee that would begin working immediately on arrangements to end the dispute over the oil exploration concessions, including the CGX concession granted by Guyana.
The Foreign Ministry said it last week sent to Suriname the names of the officials who will be in Guyana's side of the joint technical committee.
Guyana has maintained that by ordering the CGX rig to abandon its operations, "Suriname has violated Guyana's territorial sovereignty."
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Edwin Carrington flew back here Saturday after meeting Suriname President Jules Wijdenbosch and top ministers in Paramaribo on the situation.
He was in contact last week with President Bharrat Jagdeo and met Foreign Minister Clement Rohee Friday.
Carrington is to report on his talks to CARICOM Chairman, St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, Dr Denzil Douglas.
CARICOM has called for an easing of tension between Guyana and Suriname.
Rohee has briefed representatives of the diplomatic corps here on the "latest developments on the controversy" after the special emergency ministerial meeting in Trinidad Tuesday.
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