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GEORGETOWN, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Guyana on Friday formally opened a highly anticipated bidding round for 14 oil and gas blocks in its oil-rich offshore, hoping to award exploration contracts by the end of May.
The country is home to one of the largest oil discoveries in the last decade, with about 11 billion barrels of oil and gas found by a consortium led by Exxon Mobil XOM.N. The government wants to diversify by recruiting new explorers and expanding the role of the state in the business.
Companies can bid through April 14 for the areas after paying a $20,000 fee per block bid to gain access to a virtual data room and participate in the bidding process.
The government set separate requirements for the three deepwater and 11 shallow water blocks on offer, with minimum signature bonus requirement of $10 million for shallow water and $20 million for deepwater areas.
The bidding round will encourage an improved fiscal and regulatory framework, President Irfaan Ali said. Guyana is working on developing a new model production sharing agreement that is expected to increase the government take of oil produced, compared to terms negotiated with the Exxon-led consortium.
“What we are seeking to do is to have the best possible outcome for Guyana, given the lessons we have learnt,” Ali said.
Guyana is aiming for a “balance” to ensure the country gets the best possible deal in terms of revenue, while not scaring off investors.
“The cost for capital is going up, and we also understand the access to capital has become cumbersome,” the President added.
(Reporting by Neil Marks, Editing by Marianna Parraga and Angus MacSwan)
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