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Guyana Suriname Basin: Exploration Past, Brilliant Present and Promising Future of a New World Class Basin

Southeast Caribbean Research Symposium Presentation
AAPG Distinguished Lecture

Author(s): Max A. Torres (presenter), Plata Energy

The Jurassic rift related Guyana Suriname basin long journey to become a world class producer started with the discovery of organic rich Aptian Albian / Cenomanian Turonian dark shales with up to 30% TOC content at the DSDP 143/144 site near the Demarara High, hinting the existence of new large oil prone deep water basin. During 1960s and 70s shallow water drilling by Shell, Conoco, Exxon and others targeting reef buildups, listric rotated fault blocks and subtle basement closures produced in excess of a dozen dry holes. First oil to surface was 1975 Shell’s Abary 1 well In Guyana in shelf edge Maastrichtian sands that proved the existence of liquid hydrocarbons in the basin. Since then, several plays were investigated by large independents and majors, with massive success in Exxon’s Starbroek Block (Guyana) and in Apache’s Block 58 (Suriname) Campanian Cenomanian slope and basin floor fans. The stratigraphic architecture of the successful traps also included canyon heads and slope canyons related to a large Cenomanian (90 ma) incision known as the Berbice Canyon in Guyana. Although the outstanding and undisputed success of the Campanian Cenomanian lowstands reservoirs, the future exploration and new potential of the basin may be related to different plays that include an Albian Aptian rotated fault block play on the flank of the Demarara High analog to discoveries such as Skrugard field (250 MBO) in the Barents Sea of Norway or the Baobab field (200 MBO) in the Ivory Coast, incised valley sands in deltaic progradational units within the Berbice Canyon analog to the Tocito sandstone fields in the San Juan basin of the USA or a large Aptian reef buildup. With access to a prolific proven source rock and reservoir quality sands, the basin will most likely deliver additional success to creative explorers.


Max Antonio Torres, Plata Energy

Max is a Geologist from the Universidad de Tucuman, Argentina, and earned a MSc from Georgia State University. His 35 years of experience in the industry includes positions as VP Exploration at Ecopetrol (2018 -2014) and Exploration Director at Repsol (2014 -2000). He currently is Managing Partner at Plata Energy in Houston. Max is AAPG member since 1987.

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