Guyana President Donald Rabindranauth Ramotar.
AP Photo/Richard Drew

Guyana’s government Wednesday said it is overwhelmed by the flood of world class companies interesting in drilling for oil and gas in the Guyana Basin and expects to hand out new concessions to two European firms in the coming weeks.

Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud said Spanish giant Repsol and UK-based Tullow Oil are negotiating individual licenses despite working together with Canada’s CGX Energy Inc. on a promising offshore field last year.

The consortium said they were forced to abandon the well owing to safety concerns but so enthused the two are by the prospects of finding oil that they are now seeking to work separately in a general geographic area that contains oil giants like Brazil, Venezuela, Trinidad and Suriname.

“I can tell you now that the basin is getting very, very crowded but we have some unused blocks to give,” Persaud said Wednesday, noting that talks with Repsol “for a license are close to being finalized.”

Tullow oil on the other hand currently has a team in Guyana talking with authorities while Toronto-based CGX Energy which has drilled more than five dry wells since 2000 and currently has serious financial problems, has three of its own licenses and is struggling to raise cash to try again next year.

CGX recently sold some of its shares to Colombia-based Pacific Rubiales to pay off debts to Tullow, Reposl and other investors and has acknowledged that its current financial woes are of great concern.

This is as hundreds of Guyanese have already bought shares in the company because they are confident that the country must possess huge amounts of petroleum because of its proximity to producing neighbors, Venezuela especially.

In the meantime, a Tullow Oil tem led by Business and Exploration Manager for South America John McKenna met with President Donald Ramotar in the city on Tuesday as it seeks to begin operations in an area that the U.S. Geological Surveys department says contains more than 15 billion barrels of oil and a large quantity of untapped gas.

U.S.-owned Exxon also has a large concession and is currently reviewing 2D seismic work it wrapped up late last year after several months of offshore work.

Additionally, teams from China, Japan and Russia have also trekked to the South American nation, which doubles as the headquarters of the 15-nation Caribbean trade group as indications are that the country is increasingly being seen as a future potential player in the oil and gas sector.

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