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High-tech seismic ship searching for oil

The Polarcus Asima enlisted by Repsol to undertake 2D and 3D surveys in the Kanuku Block (GINA photo)

A three-month seismic survey to search for oil in commercial quantities is scheduled to begin on Monday, according to officials of the Spanish oil exploration company, Repsol.

The company has hired a state-of-the-art vessel, the Polarcus Asima , to undertake seismic two dimensional (2D) and three dimensional (3D) surveys in the eastern Guyana Offshore – Kanuku Block.

This round of exploration, which will end on December 9, is expected to cost US$35 million.

Repsol’s Atlantic Basin Exploration, Alan Kean said the technology aboard Polarcus Asima would allow scientists to pinpoint areas of hydrocarbon saturation with greater detail and precision.

The 3D technology is expected to offer higher resolution and more definition of the seismic data including rock composition and the exact area where exploration wells should be rigged.
Kean said the state-of-the-art vessel will conduct refined seismic surveys over the next 90 days which will be analysed and fast tracked for presentation to the company.

He pointed out that the 2D surveys will last for 10 days, while 3D surveys will take a maximum of two-and-a-half months. Kean added that the information will allow the exploration team to make recommendations to Repsol’s management on the way forward.

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert  Persaud, along with Deputy  Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Newell Dennison and Giancarlo Ariza, Guyana Country Manager, Repsol Exploracion S.A other major players were briefed on the technical capabilities of the vessel.

The Guyana Government and Repsol, in May of this year, signed the agreement for petroleum exploration in the Kanuku Block off the Berbice River by 2016.

In December 2011, Repsol began offshore drilling of the Jaguar-1 well in Guyana, but operations were abandoned after it encountered very high pressures at intervals above the depth targeted. Despite that, the results were said to be heartening, with the company’s Director of Exploration in Latin America, Joseba Murillas saying that “the oil recovered from Jaguar-1 was the first significant amounts ever recovered from offshore Guyana wells”.

Meanwhile, Minister Persaud during the tour on Saturday welcomed the early research and scientific work by Repsol, which will take Guyana and the company closer in its quest to drilling for oil offshore Guyana.

The Natural Resources and the Environment Minister stated that a key component of the exploration activities is early action, and he also took the opportunity to urge Repsol to maintain its urgency to realise the potential of a commercial discovery of oil.

He added that the company’s commitment to expend US$ 35 M for the current survey and the anticipated drilling for oil shows a great deal of confidence in Guyana’s hydrocarbon resources offshore.

Meanwhile, he indicated that Repsol will be ready to drill as soon as possible since the company doesn’t make money until oil is found.