Spain's CEPSA takes 25 pct share in Suriname offshore block

PARAMARIBO Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:04pm EST

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PARAMARIBO Dec 12 (Reuters) - Suriname's state oil company Staatsolie said on Thursday the local subsidiary of Spanish energy firm CEPSA has acquired a 25 percent share in an offshore oil block where Staatsolie is partnered with Apache Corp of the United States.

Staatsolie and Apache signed a production-sharing contract in October that envisages the U.S. firm investing $230 million in exploring Block 53, which lies 130 kms (80 miles) northwest of the capital, Paramaribo.

Staatsolie said CEPSA was committed to that deal and would take part in the exploration phase, which runs until April 2016.

"All expenses are being carried by the foreign partners ... Staatsolie has the option to participate for 20 percent by direct investments in the development phase," Staatsolie said in a brief statement.

Global energy companies are increasingly interested in the potential of South America's northeastern shoulder. A 2011 discovery off the coast of French Guiana has been described as a "game changer" for the region's oil prospects.

Earlier this year, Chevron announced a deal with oil and gas company Kosmos Energy that gave it a 50 percent working interest in two blocks off Suriname's coast.

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