South America - Licensing Slows
The relatively new and prolific petroleum province centred on the Guyana–Suriname Basin, has seen much of the offshore acreage already licensed. Suriname has seen seven offshore blocks awarded since 2016.
The most recent licensing activity was the 2020–21 shallow-water bid round. This attracted 10 bids for only three of the blocks which were awarded in mid-2021. TotalEnergies and Qatar Petroleum were awarded Blocks 6 and 8, which lie immediately south of Block 58, in which TotalEnergies and APA have discovered 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable resources. Chevron was awarded Block 5. All three blocks lie in shallow water depths and have a combined area of about 4,850 square kilometres.
As activity ramps up, the Government of Guyana plans to auction new blocks for offshore oil exploration by the third quarter of 2022, according to Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo.
In Brazil the public session for the submission of bids for the 17th Licensing Round was held in October 2021 but the round was not considered a success with only five of the 92 blocks receiving bids. The Brazilian government has since added 11 offshore exploration blocks located in the prolific pre-salt zone to its Permanent Offer initiative. There are now hundreds of exploration blocks that were either relinquished or never licensed by oil companies included in this initiative.