Staatsolie, Paradise, Tullow Ink E&P Contracts

Suriname's state oil company Staatsolie has signed two production-sharing contracts with its subsidiary Paradise Oil and the latter's JV partner, independent firm Tullow Oil.

The contracts involve the exploration, development and production of oil from the Coronie (2,569 sq km) and Uitkijk (757 sq km) onshore blocks, Staatsolie said in a statement. Staatsolie expects Uitkijk work to begin next quarter and Coronie works in 4Q07.

Tullow initially will finance all the exploration expenses in the first phase to earn its 40% interest in these blocks. Tullow also will pay 40% of all other exploration, development and production costs and Paradise 60%.

The signing of the contracts follows 2.5 years of work, pre-dating Staatsolie's 2006 international bidding round, a Staatsolie E&P official told BNamericas.

2006 ROUND

Australia's Hardman Oil, US firm Murphy Oil and China's Sino Petro New Energy Industrial Group in July 2006 submitted offers for offshore blocks 15, 36 and 37.

The process has not progressed from that stage due to ongoing negotiations in the lead-up to the signing of production sharing contracts, said the official, without providing further details.

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