Uruguay's offshore blocks draw majors' interest

Uruguay’s ANCAP has received 19 bids for eight of the 15 Atlantic offshore exploration blocks it offered.

Most of the interest was in the deepwater Pelotas basin, but blocks in the Punta del Este and Oriental del Plata basins also drew bids, ANCAP said (see map, OGJ, May 18, 2009, p. 19).

Successful bidders were BG Group on blocks 8, 9, and 13, BP PLC on blocks 6, 11, and 12, Total SA on Block 14, and Tullow Oil PLC on Block 15. Contract term is 30 years with an optional 10-year extension.

Tullow’s bid extends a 22% association in Oriental del Plata Block 15 to ANCAP. All other bids provided ANCAP with a 30-35% stake. ANCAP, which plans to sign the contracts by September 2012, also has the right to purchase all or part of any oil produced.

Total was the only successful bidder that proposed to drill, committing to one exploratory well, 6,690 sq km of 3D seismic, and 40 seabed samples on Block 14 in Oriental del Plata. All other winning bidders committed to 3D seismic surveys of 300 sq km or larger.

Besides the single exploratory well, the combined work programs on the eight blocks total 33,240 sq km of 3D seismic, 13,080 sq km of electromagnetic surveys, 130 seabed samples, and 3,000 km of 2D seismic within 3 years, ANCAP said.

Petrobras, YPF SA, and Portugal’s GALP already hold blocks off Uruguay.

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