Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname (Staatsolie) has signed a production sharing contract (PSC) with TotalEnergies and QatarEnergy for two blocks offshore Suriname.

Under the agreement, which covers blocks 6 and 8, Staatsolie gives exploration, development and production rights to the French energy major’s local arm TotalEnergies Suriname and QatarEnergy.

Staatsolie will own a 40% stake in the project via its subsidiary Paradise Oil Company.

Meanwhile, QatarEnergy will own a 20% working interest in the blocks and TotalEnergies, the operator, will control the remaining 40% stake.

The Surinamese government-backed oil company said TotalEnergies and QatarEnergy will bear the expenses in the exploration phase.

Licensing of the new 3D seismic and associated exploration activities is planned for the blocks.

The exploration period will last six years, according to the PSC, with the first exploration well scheduled to be drilled in the third or fourth year.

Blocks 6 and 8 are located west of the shallow offshore region, south of the recent deepwater discoveries in Block 58 and north of the onshore producing fields.

Following a shallow water bidding round in 2021, Staatsolie has been negotiating and signing production sharing contracts with the auction’s winners. A similar contract was previously signed with Chevron Corp and Shell for blocks 5 and 7.

The Surinamese oil company is tasked with marketing and contracting the offshore areas based on its research.

Previously, Chevron and Shell signed a similar contract for blocks 5 and 7.

QatarEnergy president and CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said: “We are pleased to have concluded our entry into Blocks 6 and 8 along with our partners, TotalEnergies and Staatsolie, and look forward to commencing exploration in this promising basin.”