Oil search samples sent for testing

Stabroek News
December 29, 2002

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The Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has sent for testing, gas samples it recently took from several on-shore areas using the latest geo-chemical techniques.

GGMC Commissioner, Robeson Benn told Stabroek News that tests had recently been conducted in the North West and in Pomeroon, and the samples sent overseas. He said too that some information had been given to the Trinidadian oil company which was interested in the Takutu Basin area where oil had been discovered in non-commercial quantities by the American company, Home Oil some twenty years ago. In a recent interview with the Oil and Gas Journal Benn had signalled the government's intention to offer for exploration 10,000 sq km in the Takutu Basin in the Rupununi near the Brazilian border. He said that prospective licences were available on a "first come, first served basis."

In 1980 Home Oil discovered hydrocarbons in an area in the western portion of the basin but not in commercial quantities. Almost a decade later Hunt Oil also drilled for oil in the basin but without success, finally closing its operations in 1992.

In a previous interview Benn had told Stabroek News that some of the companies which had drilled wells here in the '50s and '60s, were now reinterpreting their data using modern-day technology.

He added that the GGMC was encouraging companies to take another look at the areas of interest using geo- chemical techniques. How-ever, industry sources told this newspaper that because of the logistical problems of getting to the Rupununi, the venture would only be attractive to the smaller oil companies.

Benn said too that the Canadian oil company, CGX Resources, had not yet begun their testing of the on-land portion of their concessions along the Berbice coast using the geo-chemical techniques that the GGMC was now employing.

In a recent interview with Stabroek News CGX's Chief Executive Officer, Kelly Sully said that his company was yet to make a decision about whether it would undertake a pilot study on its own or seek out other partners. He said the initial work was not expensive but if the results were encouraging, the other steps that would have to be taken would run into hundreds of thousands of US dollars.

Sully said CGX was anxious to learn about the results of similar work that the GGMC was doing. He also said that Staatsolie, the Surinamese state-owned oil company, had done similar work on-shore, and if the prospects were good here he expected to enjoy the normal exchange of information that takes place between oil companies.

Guyana is concentrating its oil search on-shore for the time being, since over the last few years, both Suriname and Venezuela have exerted pressure on oil companies exploring in Guyana's waters.

In June of 2000, Suriname's navy evicted a CGX rig from its concession in Guyana's territorial waters. Suriname also claims this off-shore zone and despite protracted talks between the two sides exploration activity in Guyana's waters has been frozen and there is no immediate prospect of it resuming.

On the western frontier, Venezuela warned off several oil companies including Century and Exxon from searching for oil off the Essequibo coast.

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