Tullow Oil has hit a disappointing results at its closely watched exploration well off Suriname after the Anglo-Irish independent reported that "only minor oil shows" were encountered.

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The relative lack of success comes as Suriname is swiftly emerging as one of the hottest global exploration regions, with a string of successes on numerous blocks where the likes of Total, Apache and Petronas are active.

The Goliathberg Voltzberg North-1 (GVN-1) was spud around the end of January on Block 47 with the Stena Drilling drillship Stena Forth.

In a brief statement on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday, operator Tullow said the well had reached total depth "and encountered good quality reservoir but only minor oil shows".

It added the drillship drilled the well to a depth of 5060 metres, in 1856 metres of water, and that the well will now be plugged and abandoned.

"Tullow and its partners will then assess the data gathered from the well and carefully consider next steps."

Tullow operates Block 47 with a 50% stake and is partnered by Argentina’s Pluspetrol on 30% and Ratio Petroleum on 20%.

Partner statements had referred to estimated resources of 235 million barrels of oil with a 34% geological chance of success. The prospect was to test dual targets in the Cretaceous turbidite play.

Block 47 spans approximately 2350 square kilometres and also hosts the Bemau and Bakhuls prospects.

Tullow also operates on Suriname’s Block 62 and Block 54, the latter where it drilled a dry well, Araku-1, in October 2017.

Exploration hot spot

Interest in Suriname’s offshore play has soared since US independent Apache made a quartet of oil discoveries — Maka Central-1, Sapakara West-1, Kwaskwasi-1 and Keskesi East-1 — in Block 58, east of ExxonMobil’s discoveries on the Stabroek block in neighbouring Guyana.

France’s Total has since taken over the operator role on this block.

Malaysia’s Petronas drilled the Sloanea-1 wildcat in Block 52 recently, reporting several hydrocarbon-bearing sandstones in Campanian-aged sections of reservoir.