Guyana's Cabinet Clears Oil Block Bid

© MR.Zanis / Adobe Stock
© MR.Zanis / Adobe Stock

Guyana's cabinet has approved a bid for an offshore oil block by a consortium including QatarEnergy, TotalEnergies and Malaysian state-owned Petronas, a minister from the South American country said on Wednesday.

Guyana, home of the largest oil discoveries in nearly a decade, offered 14 offshore blocks in September in its first competitive auction that attracted bids from the consortium, as well as an Exxon Mobil-led group that has been responsible for all the nation's output to date.

Guyana has not yet awarded any of the blocks.

After accepting the bid from the QatarEnergy, TotalEnergies and Petronas group for shallow water block S-4, the government is negotiating terms of a production sharing agreement (PSA) with Guyana's energy ministry, Minister of Public Works Deodat Indar said at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

"They applied for their go-ahead, for their exploration activities," Indar told Reuters. "The cabinet has cleared it, but they are working through their PSA with the ministry of natural resources."

Vickram Bharrat, Guyana's minister of natural resources, told Reuters the negotiations cover only non-fiscal terms. Taxes and royalties covered in the PSA are fixed by law.

Guyana has said it would be open to changing non-fiscal terms with bidders to increase investment in the country's oil industry.

Spokespeople for TotalEnergies, QatarEnergy and Petronas did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The Exxon-led group also is in talks with the ministry over its bid for a separate shallow water block, S-8, Exxon Guyana Country Manager Alistair Routledge said on the sidelines of the conference.

The Exxon group, which includes Hess and CNOOC Ltd, has announced discoveries of more than 11 billion barrels of recoverable oil and gas resources since 2015. It is producing about 650,000 barrels of oil per day.

(Reuters - Reporting by Marianna Parraga, Curtis Williams and Georgina McCartney; writing by Gary McWilliams Editing by Marguerita Choy and Deepa Babington)

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