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The Mærsk Developer drilling vessel wades in the Atlantic Ocean, offshore Suriname (Photo: Maersk Drilling)

Maersk Drilling eyes opportunities in Suriname after securing contract with Total

The Mærsk Developer drilling vessel wades in the Atlantic Ocean, offshore Suriname (Photo: Maersk Drilling)

Maersk Drilling is buoyant about its prospects in the Guyana-Suriname basin after winning its second drilling contract, valued approximately US$100 million, from Total at the weekend.

The company on Sunday announced that it has finalised contracts with Total E&P Suriname, which will use the services of deepwater rigs Maersk Valiant and Mærsk Developer for an exploration and appraisal project in Suriname’s Block 58.

“We’re thrilled to firm up these contracts, adding further to our long-standing relationship with Total for whom we have a great track record from our collaboration on a number of deepwater exploration projects,” COO of Maersk Drilling Morten Kelstrup stated in a release from the company.

Morten Kelstrup, chief operating officer, Maersk Drilling
(Photo: Oil and Gas Council)

Potential for contractual extension

As per the agreement, the two rigs will provide drilling services to Total Suriname for a period of 500 days, with Mærsk Developer beginning this month. The Maersk Valiant will commence operations thereafter, in March 2021, offering rig modification, mobilisation and integrated services.

Notwithstanding the contractual period, the agreement includes provisions for extensions.

In an e-mailed response to a Caribbean Business Report media enquiry, a spokesperson from Maersk Drilling said he could not disclose when the 500 days will begin or end and neither could he provide further details on the options to extend the contract.

“We’re happy to add to our presence in the exciting Suriname-Guyana basin and will be able to leverage the fact that Mærsk Developer is already operating offshore Suriname to quickly start up operations…”

— Maersk Drilling COO Morten Kelstrup

“Our general principle is to announce contract extensions when agreements are finalised,” he further explained.

Developer’s second coming

The project will be Mærsk Developer’s second operation offshore Suriname, after successfully completing a one-well exploration campaign in Block 52 offshore under contract to PETRONAS Suriname Exploration & Production (E&P) BV, and subsequently ExxonMobil.

Maersk Drilling and PETRONAS Suriname E&P inked the US$20.4 million agreement in June. By December the latter announced with its partner, ExxonMobil, that they had discovered hydrocarbons while using the Mærsk Developer to drill Sloanea-1 well on Block 52.

PETRONAS Suriname inks US$20.4-m contract with Maersk Drilling

Kelstrup believes this new arrangement augurs well for his company, especially since the lifetime of it is much longer than the previous one.

“We’re happy to add to our presence in the exciting Suriname-Guyana basin and will be able to leverage the fact that Mærsk Developer is already operating offshore Suriname to quickly start up operations, including provision of a range of integrated services to maximise efficiency,” he stated.

Discoveries and opportunities

Moreover, given the recent discoveries offshore Suriname, the company believes that opportunities will abound.

ExxonMobil makes first discovery in Suriname

“Discoveries like these could trigger development campaigns that could add additional demand for drilling rigs. We see the Guyana-Suriname basin as a very exciting place and are certainly interested in any other opportunities in the region,” the Maersk Drilling spokesperson told Caribbean Business Report.

“Among other things, this means that we will be seeking an increased level of engagement with local stakeholders, including potential local suppliers for a range of services to be provided to our rigs and the drilling campaign as a whole,” he added.