Policy & Regulation

24 Jun 2020

Suriname Awaits New President, New Oil Policy

24 Jun 2020  by   

Suriname's president Desi Bouterse has conceded defeat in the emerging oil producer's 25 May parliamentary elections, two days after the country's electoral council declared the official results.

This clears the way for the installation of a new government likely to be led by former justice minister Chandrikapersad Santokhi of the main opposition Progressive Reform Party (VHP).

In its policy statement, the VHP pledges a "reconstruction" of the country's natural resources, without providing further details.

State-owned Staatsolie is seeking to emulate neighboring Guyana, where ExxonMobil's offshore discoveries will make the country a significant producer in five years.

Suriname currently produces around 16,300 b/d from the onshore Tambaredjo and Calcutta fields operated by Staatsolie.

In recent years, the company has signed several production-sharing agreements with foreign oil companies for offshore acreage.

Near-term projects to be overseen by the new government involve ExxonMobil that deepened its presence in Suriname last month by acquiring a 50pc stake in shallow-water Block 52 from Malaysian state-owned operator Petronas.

The farm-in deal follows an April 2020 oil discovery by US independent Apache at offshore Block 58, where Total holds the other 50pc.

ExxonMobil already has a contract with Staatsolie for deepwater Block 59, with partners US independent Hess and Norway's Equinor.

Other companies with Suriname offshore acreage include Chevron, Inpex, Tullow, Kosmos, Murphy Oil, Cepsa and RWE.

Offshore Suriname forms part of the Guiana shield that runs from eastern Venezuela across Guyana and Suriname and into French Guiana. The US Geological Survey estimates the region could contain 13.6bn bl of oil, 21.2 Tcf of gas, and 574mn bl of NGLs.

Bouterse held office since 2010, but his National Democratic Party won just 16 seats in the election. The VHP took 20 seats and has since created a coalition with three smaller parties to control a total of 33 seats.

It is seeking the support another party to give it one more seat to achieve the two-thirds parliamentary majority needed to allow it to elect the president.

Guyana's 2 March parliamentary election is still not officially declared.

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