Suriname Could Be Latest Big Oil Find as Industry Cuts Costs

The small South American country has become a hot prospect for oil companies looking to produce fossil fuels while spending less.

The Atlantic waters off Guyana have become one of the world’s hottest oil-drilling zones. Now, international oil executives are looking at neighboring Suriname.

Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Apache and several other companies are gearing up operations off Suriname’s coast. They hope that the South American country, which recently emerged from decades of authoritarian and corrupt governments, will be the next great oil source.

But the world has more than enough oil, and prices for petroleum products are relatively low. In addition, investor interest in oil companies is waning as concerns about climate change give momentum to electric vehicles and renewable energy.

Those concerns are not hampering interest in Suriname. Oil companies say they can make money there with oil prices as low as $30 to $40 a barrel because of lower costs. That is roughly equivalent to the threshold in Guyana and well below today’s oil price. It is also below break-even levels in many places, including some U.S. shale fields, where costs usually add up to nearly $50 a barrel.

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