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Shell Concerned After French Guiana Drilling Permits Halted

June 14 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil producer, said it’s “obviously concerned” at reports France suspended drilling permits for French Guiana.

Ecology Minister Nicole Bricq suspended permits to drill off the coast of the overseas region of France, citing the risk to the environment, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday. Shell, Total SA and Tullow Oil Plc are targeting about 1.4 billion barrels of resources in French Guiana offshore blocks.

“We are aware of the view of the Ministers of Ecology and Industry and we will be discussing this situation further,” Patrick Romeo, Shell’s country chairman for France, said in an e-mailed statement. “As a major investor in the French Guiana Exploration project, we are obviously concerned but we anticipate a satisfactory solution.”

Tullow, which opened a new oil frontier with the Zaedyus discovery off the northeast coast of South America last year, had planned to drill the Zaedyus-2 appraisal well in the third quarter and the Dasypus-1 well in the fourth alongside its partneres. Both Shell and Tullow declined to comment if drilling would be delayed.

“Following the basin-opening Zaedyus discovery in French Guiana in September 2011, a drillship has been contracted by the joint venture to commence a comprehensive exploration and appraisal programme in June,” Tullow said May 16.

The partners spent more than $250 million last year drilling the Zaedyus-1 offshore well, which found light and heavy oil. Tullow in March increased the estimate for the field’s gross reserves to 840 million barrels of oil equivalent from its September forecast of 700 million barrels in the Demerara Plateau’s Eastern Slope frontier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at

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