(Reuters) - TotalEnergies and APA Corp will make a final investment decision on Suriname's most promising oil and gas project in the fourth quarter, aiming to begin output in 2028, the French energy company said on Wednesday.

Its $9 billion project is closely watched as it will be Suriname's first commercial offshore development. Block 58 also lies adjacent to Exxon Mobil's massive Stabroek block in Guyana, where more than 11 billion barrels of recoverable oil and gas have been found.

"Engineering studies are progressing for the development of the Sapakara and Krabdagu fields, with combined recoverable resources estimated above 700 million barrels," TotalEnergies said in a release from Paramaribo, where state company Staatsolie this week is hosting an oil and gas summit.

A first ocean-bottom seismic campaign covering 900 square kilometers that will guide location of development wells will be carried out in second half of this year, the company added.

Staatsolie and TotalEnergies recently reached an agreement on the field development area to be covered in a 25-year production contract. The hull for a 200,000 barrel-per-day Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit also was recently secured.

Current oil output in Suriname is solely focused onshore, but nine deepwater fields have been discovered in the country's waters since 2019. Energy consultants Wood Mackenzie estimates Suriname's discovered resources at more than 2.4 billion barrels of oil and liquids and more than 12.5 trillion cubic feet of gas.

TotalEnergies operates Block 58 with a 50% interest, and U.S. producer APA holds the remaining 50%. Staatsolie has the option to enter the project with up to 20% interest upon the final investment decision (FID).

"We are glad to progress together with Staatsolie and APA towards the FID of Block 58, which will be the next milestone in the partnership," said Javier Rielo, Total Energies' senior vice president of exploration & production for Americas.

In May, Petronas announced its third hydrocarbon discovery at neighboring Block 52 in Suriname. The Malaysian company is now appraising a previous discovery in that area.

(Reporting by Marianna Parraga and Gdansk Newsroom)