Apache, Total Halt Suriname Offshore Drilling due to Pressure

March 10, 2021

Noble Sam Croft - Credit: Robby Norman/MarineTraffic.com
Noble Sam Croft - Credit: Robby Norman/MarineTraffic.com

Oil and gas companies Apache and Total have been forced to stop drilling operations at an offshore well in Suriname due to "substantial pressure increases."

As announced on January 14, the Keskesi East-1 well discovered oil, volatile oil, and condensate in the Upper Cretaceous-aged Campanian and Santonian intervals and, subsequently, continued drilling toward deeper Neocomian-aged targets. 

As drilling progressed, the well encountered substantial pressure increases that Apache and Total determined could ultimately exceed the capabilities of the wellbore design and pressure control equipment. 

Consequently, Apache said Tuesday, the partners decided to conclude drilling operations at Keskesi before reaching the Neocomian targets. 

"Information gathered from this well will be used to design a wellbore and drilling program that will ensure a safe test of the deep Neocomian targets in future exploration and/or appraisal operations," Apache said.

"The additional drilling at the Keskesi East-1 well encountered hydrocarbons in the Lower Cretaceous interval and a carbonate depositional system above the top Neocomian target, both of which help to validate the partners’ geologic models. While encouraging, this data does not reveal specific information about the Neocomian targets themselves," Apache added.

With the completion of operations at Keskesi East-1, the Noble Sam Croft drillship will be released as planned. Apart from the Keskesi East-1 discovery, the partners previously struck oil at  Maka Central, Sapakara West, and Kwaskwasi prospects.

As previously reported, Apache transferred the operatorship of Block 58 to Total S.A. on Jan. 1, 2021. Apache holds a 50% working interest in Block 58 and Total holds the remaining 50% working interest.

Total has recently signed an agreement to hire two Maersk Drilling's deepwater rigs, Mærsk Developer and Maersk Valiant, for an exploration and appraisal project the Block 58.

The campaign is expected to start in early 2021, with an estimated firm combined duration of 500 days. The estimated firm total contract value for Maersk Drilling is approximately $100 million, including rig upgrades and integrated services provided.




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