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French major Total takes more of South American oil

The company said it's made a "significant energy" into the oil basins off the coast of Guyana.

By Daniel J. Graeber
French major Total takes more of South American oil
French supermajor Total wades into prolific oil basins off the coast of Guyana. Image courtesy of Total S.A.

Feb. 5 (UPI) -- French energy company Total said Monday it has expanded its footprint off the South American coast by taking exploration rights offshore Guyana.

Total signed contracts to take non-controlling interests in the Canje and Kanuku block offshore Guyana, expanding its exploration rights beyond holdings in the Orinduik block.

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"Total is very pleased with this significant entry in the prolific Guyana basin," Arnaud Breuillac, the president of exploration and production at Total, said in a statement. "The Canje, Kanuku and Orinduik blocks are located in a very favorable petroleum context, evidenced by the Liza discovery in 2015."

Total's partners offshore Guyana include Exxon Mobil and African-focused explorer Tullow Oil. The broader Guyana−Suriname basin is estimated to hold around 12 billion barrels of oil.

Some of the operations offshore Guyana call for development using a floating production, storage and offloading vessel designed to produce up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day. An FPSO from Exxon is called to develop the approximately 450 million barrels of oil from the Liza field.

According to Exxon, first oil from Guyana is expected no later than 2020. Hess Corp. and Exxon announced a final investment decision for the offshore Liza oil prospect last year. The development cost of $3.2 billion is considered relatively low

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Total issues its quarterly report on Wednesday. Exxon said last week its fourth quarter production was lower than last year and nearly all of its earnings came from corporate relief in the new U.S. tax reform.

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