France’s Total has been awarded an exploration licence for block 14 offshore Uruguay, following a second bid round staged by state-owned company ANCAP. Confirmation of the award is subject to further approval by Uruguayan authorities.
Block 14 covers 6,690 sq km in the Pelotas basin, 250 km offshore with water depths ranging from 2,000-3,500 m, said the company in a release.
The bidding process for this particular block was very competitive in terms of the proposed work program and financial commitment, said Marc Blaizot, Total’s senior VP, Exploration.
“Our successful bid on Block 14 is consistent with Total’s bold exploration strategy focused on exploring new, high-potential plays. The bidding process for this particular block was very competitive in terms of the proposed work program and financial commitment, and we are delighted with our success,” said Marc Blaizot, Total’s senior vice president, Exploration.
“Together with our recently-acquired licenses in Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mauritania and Angola, this award in Uruguay further increases our potential for frontier exploration.”
Total has additional exploration and production assets in the Southern Cone, notably interests in Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia. Total is an integrated oil and gas company with activities in more than 130 countries and 96,000 employees.
The deepwater Pelotas basin lies along Uruguay's marine boundary with Brazil, but they are 650 miles southwest of the Santos basin where Petrobras has discovered world class pre-salt oil resources.
Other successful bidders were BG Group on blocks 8, 9, and 13, BP PLC on blocks 6, 11, and 12, 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 at this stage, committing to one exploratory well, 6,690 sq km of 3D seismic, and 40 seabed samples on Block 14 in Oriental del Plata. All the other winning bidders committed 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 of Argentina and Portugal's GALP already hold blocks 3 and 4 off Uruguay.