Argentina to hold public consultation on offshore exploration well

Bnamericas Published: Monday, September 26, 2022

Argentina is scheduled to hold a public consultation next month on an exploratory well planned for offshore Buenos Aires province.

The focus will be on associated environmental impact evaluation documentation. 

The consultation corresponds to proposed well Argerich-1, targeting Argentina Norte basin block CAN-100. Equinor – which partners Shell and YPF at the acreage – is leading the project.

Consultancy ERM Argentina carried out environmental impact evaluation work, the federal climate change, sustainable development and innovation department said in a resolution. 

An early-stage public consultation process was launched this year for the planned drilling as well as for a proposed 3D seismic shoot at basin block CAN-102, jointly held by Equinor and YPF.

Argentina held its first offshore licensing round in more than 20 years in 2019. Eighteen blocks were awarded to 13 companies, among them ExxonMobil, Total Austral, Equinor, BP, Eni and Mitsui. Winning bidders presented in 2020 environmental impact studies and the combined committed exploration investment was US$720mn. Equinor's plans are the most advanced. 

Officials recently extended some exploration licenses. 

Proposals to explore and extract in the basin – off the coast of Buenos Aires – have generated opposition in Argentina over environmental concerns. The government has cited the fact the country already has offshore operations and that development would create jobs.

Current offshore hydrocarbons production comes from Total Austral and Enap Sipetrol-operated blocks in shallow waters in the Austral basin, off the country's southern coast. They produce around 17% of Argentina's gas. A planned production project targeting the basin – Fénix – was given the green light this month. 

The Argerich-1 public consultation is scheduled to be held on October 19 at 9:00am local time and broadcast via YouTube.

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