Apache, Total make 'significant' oil discovery off South American coast

Apache shares were on track for their biggest gain since September 1973

Apache Corporation and Total S.A. have made a “significant” oil discovery off the coast of Suriname – the second in the region in less than a month.

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Shares of Houston-based Apache soared on the news and were on track for their biggest daily gain since September 1973. Paris-based Total was little changed.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
APAAPACHE CORP.13.11+0.74+5.98%
TOTTOTAL SE43.82+0.39+0.90%

“Preliminary formation evaluation data indicates the potential for prolific oil wells,” Apache CEO and President John Christmann said in a statement about the discovery at the Maka Central-1 well. “Additionally, the size of the stratigraphic feature, as defined by 3-D seismic imaging, suggests a substantial resource.”

Apache and Total, which each hold a 50 percent stake in the well, do not yet know how much oil is located at the well.

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Block 58, where the well is located, comprises 1.4 million acres and has “significant potential beyond the discovery at Maka Central,” Christmann said.

The finding was made less than a month after rival ExxonMobil announced a discovery in neighboring Guyana which could yield as many as 6 billion barrels of oil and gas.

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Apache shares fell 2.5 percent in 2019 while Total was up 6.5 percent.