Total said that it is set to begin an exploration program on the Guyane Maritime license located offshore French Guiana shortly after the arrival of the drilling ship on site.
The French oil and gas giant said that it aims to drill one last exploration well on the Guyane Maritime license to ascertain if there is any potential for an exploitation phase. Previously, five exploration wells were drilled on the license between 2011 and 2013.
Awarded in 2001, the Guyane Maritime license is located 150km off the coast. Mostly contained in deepwater, the license is spread over 24,000km2 beyond the Guyanese continental shelf.
In March 2016, Total requested for an extension of the exploration license, which was granted in September 2017.
The area to be targeted by the latest drilling program is located in the central part of the license, in a water depth of 2,000m.
Total, in a statement, said: “Conscious of the questions that this campaign could raise, Total wishes to highlight that it is a responsible company that conducts operations while constantly seeking to minimize the environmental risk and is determined to act with transparency.”
The oil and gas major confirmed that it will not conduct drilling operations in coral reefs. It said that the closest reef identified from the drilling point is 30km away and is not coral.
Total has invited NGOs to visit its installations to find out the precautionary measures it will implement on the drilling rig. It also said that visits from the NGOs will pave way for “reasoned” dialogue.
The company’s invitation to NGOs to check its upcoming drilling project in French Guiana comes days after it was denied drilling permission near the mouth of the Amazon Reef, off the coast of Amapá state, from Brazilian environmental agency Ibama.
Total, currently owns 100% stake in the Guyane Maritime license. It first entered into the offshore block by acquiring a 25% stake from Hardman Petroleum France, an affiliate of Tullow Oil, in late 2009.
In addition to the Guyane Maritime license, Total is taking part in the Canje block and Kanuku block in French Guiana’s territorial waters.