Southern Cone bid round watch: Uruguay, Argentina updates

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Uruguayan national oil company Ancap officially launched the Ronda 3 offshore bid round in Houston.

Interested firms have until April 6, 2018, to submit offers for the tender, which will make available E&P concessions for 17 exploration blocks across the Punta del Este, Pelotas and Oriental del Plata basins, Ancap said in a statement.

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Blocks will be divided into three categories – type I, type II and type III – based on their water depths, which range from 50m to over 4,000m.

The exploratory period is eight years for types I and II, and 10 years for type III, Ancap said. The exploitation period is for 30 years, and can be extended by 10 years.

Qualification requirements will be more flexible than in previous rounds, as will the requirements for the exploration period, in order to account for the still-difficult scenario facing the global oil industry after its most severe downturn in decades.

In order to incentivize the participation of independent drillers, firms will be allowed to qualify exclusively for the exploration period.

Representatives of oil companies including Anadarko, Apache, Hess, Nexen-CNOOC, Lukoil, Cobalt, Kosmos Energy, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Noble Energy, Murphy Oil, ONGC Videsh, Talos Energy and Frontera Energy attended the Houston launch ceremony, Ancap said.

Services firms such as CGG, Spectrum, EMGS, ION, PGS, AGI, TGS, Geokinetics, Polarcus, DrillingInfo, Schlumberger, Actus Veritas Geoscience, Technip, Petromarker, IHS and RPS were also represented.

The country's second offshore bid round, which was conducted in 2012, resulted in the awarding of eight E&P contracts and has generated more than US$1bn of investment in exploration, Ancap said. However, Uruguay has yet to record a hydrocarbons discovery.

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GyP del Neuquén, the state oil company of Argentina's Neuquén province, received offers for three of the six oil and gas blocks made available through the province's fifth bid round.

Statoil, Retama and Pampa Energía submitted offers for the Bajo del Toro Este, Parva Negra Oeste and Las Tacanas Norte areas, all of which target the Vaca Muerta shale formation, state news outlet Neuquén Informa reported.

The technical and economic characteristics of the offers will be made public in approximately 20 days.

Bajo del Toro Este contains crude oil, Parva Negra contains wet and dry gas, and Las Tacanas Norte is a producer of dry gas, the report said.

Under the terms of the round, GyP del Neuquén will hold a 10% working interest, carried through the exploration phase, in each area that is awarded.

The three blocks that did not receive offers will be re-tendered September 25. Another 50 areas will be tendered through the Plan Exploratorio Neuquén process, which is scheduled to launch October 2.

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Authorities in Argentina's La Pampa province opened technical offers in a bid round for working interests in hydrocarbon concessions 25 de Mayo-Medanito and Jagüel de los Machos.

Consortium Ribeiro SRL-Oilstone submitted offers for both areas, while Petroquímica Comodoro Rivadavia submitted an offer only for Jagüel de los Machos.

The areas will be developed through joint ventures comprising the winning firm or firms and provincial state oil company Pampetrol.

Economic offers were scheduled to be opened on Wednesday.