Photo: Maersk Valiant drillship; Source: Repsol

TotalEnergies’ well flow test off Suriname supports hopes for oil development hub

French energy major TotalEnergies and its partner APA Corporation have recently completed a flow test at an appraisal well in Block 58 offshore Suriname, confirming an excellent quality black oil reservoir, but failed to find commercial hydrocarbons at the latest exploration well there.

However, success at their next planned exploration well on the block could boost the scale of the project and deliver a vision of a black oil development hub in the area.

TotalEnergies is the operator of the block and holds a 50 per cent working interest, while APA Suriname holds the other 50 per cent interest. APA reported the results from flow testing at the Sapakara South appraisal well along with the drilling results from the Bonboni-1 exploration well on Tuesday. Both of these operations were recently completed on Block 58.

SPS-1 well: excellent quality black oil reservoir

APA confirmed that flow and subsequent pressure build-up tests were recently completed at SPS-1. This is an appraisal well, which was drilled earlier this year on the eastern edge of Sapakara nearly 4 kilometres from the discovery well.

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Following previous discoveries at Maka CentralSapakara WestKwaskwasi, and Keskesi, this was TotalEnergies’ fifth discovery off Suriname.

As disclosed in June, this well encountered approximately 30 metres (98 feet) of net black oil pay in a single zone of high-quality Campano-Maastrichtian reservoir.

APA announced that a restricted flow test averaged 4,800 barrels of oil per day (bopd) for 48 hours. However, without flow restrictions, a development well would produce at a significantly higher sustained rate.

John J. Christmann IV, APA’s CEO and president, commented: “We are very pleased with the flow test results. The data we’ve collected confirms an excellent quality black oil reservoir, which we believe will serve as a foundation for a development project in Suriname. The high permeability of the oil-bearing sand and its thick and consistent quality indicate strong well deliverability and, importantly, high recovery factors.”

The report on the preliminary analysis of the data indicates that a single reservoir in SPS-1 proved connected resource of 325 to 375 million barrels of oil in place and exceptional reservoir quality with permeability in the range of 1.4 Darcies along with black oil with a 34-degree API and flowing gas-to-oil ratio (GOR) of approximately 1100 standard cubic feet per barrel (scf/bbl).

The Sapakara reservoir’s seismic imaging supports substantially more potential resources, which could be proven through additional appraisal drilling.

Sub-commercial black oil discovery at Bonboni-1 well

After completing the drilling of the Sapakara South -1 well, the Maersk Drilling-owned, Maersk Valiant drillship moved to drill the Bonboni – 1 well in Block 58. This is a high-specification 7th generation drillship with integrated Managed Pressure Drilling capability which was delivered in 2013.

It is worth reminding that after a conditional letter of award from November 2020, Maersk Drilling was awarded contracts in January 2021 for the deepwater rigs Maersk Valiant and Maersk Developer by TotalEnergies for exploration and appraisal project in Suriname’s Block 58.

The Bonboni-1 well is the first exploration well in the northern portion of Block 58. It was drilled in water depths of nearly 2,000 metres approximately 45 kilometres from discoveries in the Maka-Kwaskwasi-Sapakara-Keskesi trend. The well encountered high quality, water-bearing reservoirs in the primary Maastrichtian and Campanian objectives.

The exploration well penetrated 16 metres (52 feet) of net pay in a single zone, consisting of low-GOR, 25-degree API black oil in a Maastrichtian objective. As the areal extent of this pay zone is not sufficient to support commercial development, the well will be plugged and abandoned.

Tracey Henderson, SVP of Exploration at APA, stated: “The results at Bonboni extend the proven petroleum system to the northern boundary of Block 58, confirming the presence of high-quality reservoir sands and the generation and migration of black oil. With the critical elements of reservoir and charge now proven, our focus turns to integrating well data to prioritize the numerous exploration prospects we have mapped in both blocks 58 and 53.”

Plans for further development activity

After completing operations at Bonboni, the Maersk Valiant will move to drill the Krabdagu exploration prospect, which is located 18 kilometres east of SPS-1. It has a similar seismic signature to the two successful wells at Sapakara and the discovery well at nearby Keskesi.

APA claims that the success at Krabdagu could materially increase the scope and scale of development in the central portion of Block 58. The firm envisions a potential black oil development hub that would accommodate production from Krabdagu, Sapakara and Keskesi.

Following exploratory success in waters offshore Suriname, where several discoveries have been made in 2020, the energy data and analytics company GlobalData also stated earlier this year that the area shows promise to become an oil production hot spot in the near to mid-term.

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Furthermore, the Maersk Developer – a DSS-21 column-stabilised dynamically positioned semisubmersible rig – is nearing contract completion, thus, TotalEnergies will release it once operations are finished at SPS-1. 

In addition, APA intends to mobilize the Noble Gerry de Souza (formerly Pacific Santa Ana) to Block 53 at the start of 2022. Recently, the rig completed its plug and abandonment contract with Petronas in Mauritania in August 2021 and has since mobilized to Las Palmas to complete the installation of a managed pressure drilling system and a second blowout preventer stack in preparation for work in Suriname.

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The contract with APA is for one firm well from February until March 2022, plus two one-well priced options.