Korea National Oil Eyes Suriname Oil Sector

State-run Korea National Oil is interested in exploring potential oil fields in Suriname, Caribbean Net News quoted Han Byong-gil, Central and South American affairs director at South Korea's foreign affairs ministry, as saying.

The announcement followed a meeting this week between officials from both governments to discuss cooperation in several areas including the oil and gas sector.

Suriname's state oil company Staatsolie and the natural resources and energy ministry next month will work out the details with Korea, Frederik Boekstaaf, director of Suriname's foreign affairs ministry, said.

The South American country's average oil production in November was 13,780b/d, according to Staatsolie's website. Output in the first 11 months of 2006 was 4.36Mb.

The Japanese Information Center for Petroleum Exploration & Production also has expressed interest in the country's oil sector, the company said.

Staatsolie's refinery capacity is 7,000b/d and produces diesel oil, different grades of fuel oil and asphalt bitumen, the surplus of which is exported to Caribbean markets including regular sales to Trinidad, Guyana and Barbados.

The company in August entered the power generation market with the start of operations of a 14MW plant. This power plant uses heavy fuel oil from the refinery and generates steam for use in the refinery. Power is sold locally for further distribution to clients.

According to the US Geological Survey, the Suriname-Guyana sedimentary basin contains 15Bb of undiscovered oil, Staatsolie reports.

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