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French Guiana


French Guiana is underlain by the Guiana Shield, one of 3 cratons in the South American Plate. It is a Precambrian block that forms the major part of the northern highlands and coast in French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, and parts of Venezuela and Brazil. The rocks of the Guiana Shield consist of meta-sediments and meta-volcanics with limited sedimentary cover which only thickens near the coast and offshore into the Guyana-Suriname Basin. French Guiana has no onshore potential.

South America

French Guiana (Guyane)

Guyana-Suriname Basin

In Jurassic and early Cretaceous times, at the northwestern edge of the Shield off French Guiana and part of Suriname, an area called the Demerara Rise formed the southern extremity of the Central Atlantic Rift and Ocean. Sedimentation here was in an inner shelf environment with continental influxes. In the Early Cretaceous shallow marine to open marine deposition began in response to the opening of the Atlantic Ocean. Two offshore wells were drilled on this rise in French Guiana in the 1970s which failed to find oil or gas.

The Atlantic Ocean opened east of the Demerara Rise during the Early Cretaceous. Here the continental shelf is narrow with water depths rapidly deepening to 3000m. Drilling commenced in 2011 in the hope of finding analogous fields to those discovered in West Africa on the other side of the Atlantic Rift. Wells identified oil bearing turbidite fans of Cretaceous age but subsequent drilling has failed to follow up on this success and the whole area remains high risk with a shortage of sufficiently large trapping possibilities.

Globalshift considers there also may be older Mesozoic troughs below the shelf but these have not been drilled and cannot be inferred due to the poor quality of seismic data at depth.