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Shell to Start Drilling Offshore French Guyana This Week -Report

Published June 25, 2012 Dow Jones Newswires

Shell France, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB), will as soon as this week start drilling exploration wells off the coasts of French Guyana that are believed to harbor promising oil reserves, its Chief Executive Patrick Romeo said in an advanced copy of an interview with professional weekly Bulletin de l’Industrie Petroliere, or BIP, to be released Tuesday.

The moves comes after the French government lifted the suspension of exploratory works in the region.

“Our priority is zero accident and maximum environmental protection,” Mr. Romeo is quoted as saying. “Tests are made to be sure the equipment is efficient and we will start drilling only if we are satisfied in that matter,” he said, adding drilling “should indeed start this week.”

Last week, the French government initially suspended all permits to explore the region, as it plans to review the country’s mining code to include the consultations with local authorities, stakeholders as well as stricter environmental protection regulations.

Drilling should last three months and Shell hopes to discover a reserve of at least 300 million of barrels of oil, Mr. Romeo said.

“The presence of oil has been proved, now the underground’s geology must be understood to see if the resources are commercially exploitable,” he said.

Shell will drill four exploration wells by June 2013 and then “we’ll have a clearer picture,” he said.

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