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.

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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.”