Guyana extends drilling deadline for Spain's Repsol
Guyana has given Spanish oil giant Repsol until year-end to start oil exploration off its coast, officials said Thursday.
Originally, the oil firm had planned to begin drilling on May 25 but the rig is still in neighboring Suriname drilling for another company, Repsol officials told President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Asked if drilling would start by December 31, head of the petroleum division of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission Newell Dennison said: "Nothing is absolute, but there is a high degree of probability that it will be if nothing else of major consequence happens."
Dennison added it was not easy for Repsol to get another rig because it has to be built to specifications.
Repsol plans to spend at least US$150 million on drilling the 23,000 feet high pressure-high temperature well in the Atlantic off Guyana.
The extension to December 31 was granted after Repsol's director of Latin America exploration, Joseba Murillas, led a delegation for talks here.
Murillas said the company "is in full gear to drill as personnel and equipment are already in Guyana and 95 percent of the contracts are in place."
"We are very optimistic of our chances," Murillas added, quoted by the state-run Government Information Agency, pointing to the encouraging news of a recent discovery made in the French Guiana basin.
On September 9, the Shell-Tullow oil joint venture confirmed an oil discovery about 150 kilometers (100 miles) offshore French Guiana.
Guyana is the second most under-explored basin in the world with potential deposits of some 15.2 billion barrels of oil.
© 2011 AFP