Uruguay confirmed a second round of offshore lease bidding for hydrocarbons exploration next September. The country’s state run oil refining company ANCAP plans to offer 15 areas with sizes ranging from 2,300 sq km to 12,000 sq km, said sources from the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining.
The official announcement is scheduled for Sept. 7-9 in Montevideo, and there will be road show presentations in Houston and Rio de Janeiro in October and November, respectively.
Operators have until the end of February to qualify and bids will be opened by the end of March 2012. The contracts will be awarded under a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), for which the main terms are: no royalties; no signature or production bonuses; and no surface rentals.
ANCAP has 6,300 km of 2D seismic data from a recent offshore Uruguay program, and that data will be taken into account as part of the committed exploratory program.
According to Reflect Geophysical the survey comprise 58 regional and infill lines for a total of approximately 6,300 km, in a wide area of the Uruguayan Exclusive Economic Zone; from shallow waters, 20 meters, 50 km coast away, up to ultra-deep waters, 3,500 meters.
Combined with ANCAP existing 2D data, the new information provide almost full coverage of the Punta del Este, Pelotas and Oriental del Plata basins. This survey adds information to the amount of data already available by ANCAP, such as the commercialized by CGG Veritas for about 12.000 Km of 2D seismic data (acquired during 2002, 2007 and 2008).
Uruguayan officials are encouraged by the fact that on shore drilling has also been promising. Source rock which might contain underground shale oil or natural gas deposits was discovered a few months ago in drillings in the centre of the country.
“It could be nothing or it could be the tip of the iceberg” said Raul Sendic, president of ANCAP, referring to the discovery. The rock had “a great amount of organic material, which has possibilities of developing into hydrocarbon” Sendic told reporters at the time.