8 months ago

ENERGY Caribbean Yearbook (2013-14)

Countries guyana Could

Countries guyana Could luck change with the Stabroek block? If the geological structures that trapped oil off Ghana and other West African countries are really replicated off South America, it has yet to be demonstrated in Guyana, despite the evidence of oil off nearby French Guiana. Neither the US$71 million Eagle 1 well in CGX Energy’s Corentyne block nor the Jaguar 1 well in the Georgetown block found oil or gas in 2012. Repsol is the operator, partnering Tullow Oil, YPF Guyana and CGX itself. Jaguar was stopped at 4,878 metres instead of being drilled to the Late Cretaceous horizon, as planned, because “pressure design limits for safe operations prevented further drilling,” according to a Tullow spokesman. There was a glimmer of hope in that “samples of light oil were recovered from two Late Cretaceous turbidite sands above the primary objective.” How soon operators will return to drilling is uncertain. CGX’s intentions towards Corentyne are unknown, while Repsol says it considers the Georgetown block “still interesting” and may drill again, but “not before late 2013/early 2014.” CGX holds several other Guyana offshore blocks – Corentyne Annexe (100%), Pomeroon (100%) and, onshore, the majority share in Berbice through its fully-owned subsidiary, ON Energy. But it has not said when it will try its luck again – and Berbice has probably been ruled out after three unsuccessful wells. There has been no word from ExxonMobil and Shell, who hold the Stabroek block in a 75/25% equity relationship. The most recent international oil company to take an interest in Guyana, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, has said it will “study available data” for its block, named Roraima, “with a view to identifying leads that could result in prospects favourable for drilling.” So the possibility of some Guyanese offshore blocks being on trend with the Zaedyus find in French Guiana should not altogether be ruled out. Apart from Berbice, there is another licensed block onshore Guyana – Takutu in the interior, regarded as cross-border with Brazil. It is held 65% by Canacol, 25% by Sagres Energy and 10% by Takutu Oil and Gas, formerly Groundstar Resources. The Apoteri K2 well was drilled there, though without success, and the acreage may even The possibility of some Guyanese offshore blocks being on trend with the Zaedyus find in French Guiana should not altogether be ruled out Most hopes now lie with ExxonMobil/Shell, whose Stabroek block is by far the largest piece of offshore acreage Guyana has licensed have been surrendered. Next-door Suriname has also failed so far to identify offshore oil or gas. Two wells drilled in 2010-2011 by Murphy Oil in block 37 (Aracara and Caracari) and by Inpex in block 31 (Aitkanti) all failed to find retrievable volumes. Most hopes now lie with ExxonMobil/Shell, whose Stabroek block is by far the largest piece of offshore acreage Guyana has licensed. It extends from the Venezuelan maritime border in the west to the Suriname maritime border in the east, and could contain a wide sweep of prospects. The two companies were only obliged to undertake 2D seismic, which was completed, but they opted for another 2D exercise to fill in some blank spots. Newell Dennison, manager of the petroleum division in the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, suggests that ExxonMobil/Shell might consider 3D acquisition. But they will have to make up their minds soon about sinking an actual well, since they keep losing parts of Stabroek through mandatory relinquishments which, in Dennison’s words, “are aggressive.” He says: “ExxonMobil has told us they are not interested in dragging the situation out, so may drill eventually.” It remains to be seen whether that happens in 2013. 34

Countries cuba Deep water seems to be dry Cuba had high hopes of success from its deep water drilling campaign in the Gulf of Mexico. But they were well and truly dashed in 2012 and into 2013, and no further offshore exploration is planned for the rest of the year. The list of well failures has been dispiriting. After drawing a blank with Jaguey 1, Repsol declined to drill a second well, and said it would quit the Cuban deep water. Malaysia’s Petronas and Russia’s Gazpromneft had no more success with the Catoche 1 well – a statement issued by the Cuban state oil company Cubapetroleo said that “the rocks are very compact and do not have the capacity to deliver significant quantities of petroleum or gas, so the well can not be classified as a commercial success.” Venezuela’s national energy company PdVSA had no luck with its Cabo de San Antonio well, not did Russia’s Zerubezhneft with its exploratory well. The Angolan state energy company Sonangol, Vietnam’s Petro Vietnam and India’s ONGC promised to try their hand in the deep water, where Cuba has delineated 59 blocks in its exclusive economic zone: but they are understood to be unlikely to proceed. Petro Vietnam said it would wait for the results of PdVSA’s work, which was unsuccessful, while ONGC reportedly told Cuban officials it needed partners to help finance wells in one of its two offshore blocks. On current trends, such partners are unlikely to come on board. However, while the deep water may be sidelined for the foreseeable future, Zerubezhneft is staying on to drill some wells nearshore northern Cuba, and even plans to move onshore into blocks 9 and 12, where wells abandoned many years ago are considered ripe for revival. For now, it seems that Cuba’s crude oil production from onshore and nearshore wells will remain stuck at around 52,000 b/d, forcing it to continue importing about 110,000 b/d of refined products like gasolene, diesel and fuel oil, plus crude for its four refineries at Cienfuegos, Mantanzas, Habana and Santiago de Cuba, which is largely sourced from Venezuela. Upgrades are planned for three of these refineries, with Habana slated to be shut down. Combined nominal capacity is 300,000 b/d, but the four can deliver no more than about 104,000 b/d at present. Cienfuegos has actually exported a small amount of refined products (about 16,000 b/d) since PdVSA came on board as a partner with Cubapetroleo. Venezuela is pledged to fund an expansion programme at Cienfuegos under the two countries’ Cuvenpetrol joint venture, which will raise production from 65,000 b/d to 150,000 b/d. Financing for the expansion was to have been provided by Venezuela, Repsol declined to drill a second well, and said it would quit the Cuban deep water using funds from China under a cashfor-oil credit scheme. But under its new president Nicolás Maduro, Caracas may be having second thoughts about all these arrangements, which enable Venezuela to undertake development projects at home and abroad while pledging oil supplies as repayment in the future. So it is not entirely surprising to hear from Cuvenpetrol that, at the time of writing, no contract for the Cienfuegos upgrading had been signed with the chosen contractor, China National Petroleum’s Huanqui Contracting and Engineering Unit. Alongside the Cienfuegos upgrade, other infrastructure is planned for the area: an LNG regasification plant, to handle LNG imports of around 2 million tonnes a year; a petrochemical complex; and power generation facilities. Cuba has long been in the frame for imported LNG, with Trinidad and Tobago a possible long-term supplier, since no US LNG exporter would be allowed to trade with the country. As in many other Caribbean states these days, Cuba is probably having more success with renewable energy than with hydrocarbons. Early in 2013 it announced a major programme of wind-farm construction, with six facilities across the country, generating 280MW. Officials reckon that this could save 184,000 tonnes of CO 2 emissions, compared with oil-fired generators. 280MW is only scratching the surface of wind power, since Cuba is said to be capable of as much as 1,200MW of wind-generated energy. energycaribbean YEARBOOK 2013/14 35

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