Geologist and Product Ambassador at Getech, Dr William Heins

THERE is a ‘Mirror Theory’ which suggests that the petroleum system of the Guiana basins is similar to the West Africa basin and, with huge finds in both Regions, energy experts are excited about what this could mean for the countries involved.

Furthermore, it was noted that Guyana –which has already had 16 discoveries in less than five years— should expect much more of these successes. Explaining the “Mirror Theory,” Geologist and Product Ambassador at Getech, Dr William Heins, said: “Both sides of the Atlantic —the African and the South American—because they were originally joined at one point on earth’s history, must therefore have the same distribution of resources.”

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He made the remarks to the media on the sidelines of the Guyana International Petroleum Exhibition (GIPEX) 2019 being hosted at the Marriott Hotel. Dr Heins said that one of the most noteworthy takeaways from his research of the Guyana-Suriname basin is that there is a “bulk load” of hydrocarbons which lie deep beneath the earth’s surface.

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“I think the discoveries to date have substantiated that and there is every reason to expect that you would continue to have explorations successes in this particular area,” he said.
However, the geologist explained that although the areas share genetic similarities, there are still some unique differences based on their specific location and what took place many years ago.

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The Ghana oil field

“Even though it is true that there is very good opportunity all the way from Ghana to Sierra Leone to Senegal and Mauritania on the African side, it’s different than what we find in French Guyana or Suriname or Guyana on the South American side. Each of those places have had a unique combination of environmental factors that were responsible for putting the hydrocarbons in place; and the details of each one of the countries systems is unique to it, even though they share some genetic heritage,” he said.

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The expert reminded attendees that it was based on the successes in the Jubilee Oil Field off the coast of Ghana’s western region with billions in reserves, that explorers became excited to come to French Guiana to see the same replicated following SHELL’s discovery there in 2011.

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However, there was disappointment when four subsequent wells failed to perform as well as Jubilee and, it is now with the successes of the Guyana Basin, that the excitement is growing again. “The Guyana success I think has flipped the paradigm, so now it should be Africans who are excited about the success on the South American side and people should be excited about going to Africa because it’s been successful here,” Dr Heins said. Going back to the belief that the continents of Africa and South America were once joined, he said that there are also high possibilities, as well as proven results, that the other precious minerals found in parts of Africa can be found in Guyana.

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Speaking to Ghana and Guyana, he said: “The kind of resources in the two countries are similar in the sense that Ghana is the leading gold producer in Africa and Guyana has demonstrable gold assets as well. They also have diamonds and there are a lot of diamonds here. From a genetic stance there’s iron resources in Liberia, which may have something to tell you about iron resources on the South American side…it’s a plausible thing to think about.”

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Apart from gold, bauxite and diamonds, Guyana’s mineral heritage also includes deposits of semi-precious stones, copper, molybdenum, kaolin, silica sand, soap stone, kyanite, feldspar, mica, ilmenite, laterite, manganese, and radioactive minerals, tungsten, iron, and nickel, lithium, manganese and coltan.

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