Norway's Statoil giant announced on Tuesday an agreement with French Total to acquire a 15% working interest in an offshore exploration block in Uruguay's continental shelf. The announcement comes only weeks before Total is preparing to drill its first exploratory well in Uruguayan waters.
According to the release from Statoil Uruguay B.V., the company has agreed with Total E&P Uruguay B.V. to acquire 15% working interest in offshore exploration block 14 in Uruguay.
This represents a new impact opportunity for Statoil and a new country entry, pointed out the release.
Block 14 is located in the Pelotas basin of the South Atlantic Ocean, approximately 200 kilometres off the coast of Uruguay. It covers an area of 6,690 square kilometres in water depths of 1,850 to 3,500 metres.
Statoil has acquired 15% working interest from operator Total. This transaction is pending governmental approval. Total retains a 50% working interest. The partnership also includes ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Uruguay B.V. with 35% working interest.
“With this transaction, we are positioning ourselves in yet another underexplored basin with upside potential. This is in line with our exploration strategy of early access at scale, and strengthens Statoil’s long-term international portfolio,” says Nicholas Alan Maden, senior vice president for exploration in Statoil.
Total has completed an extensive data collection programme, including acquiring new 3D seismic data covering the block. The partnership is now preparing to drill the Raya prospect during the first half of 2016.
“It is exciting that we are able to test this opportunity so quickly, to explore a new geological concept in this frontier deep-water area,” says Maden.
Block 14 was awarded to Total in 2012. Based on the results of the Raya well, the partnership will decide further steps. The well scheduled to be drilled to a depth of 3.400 meters is expected to demand an investment of 200 million dollars, according to Total.
Statoil’s entry into Uruguay further expands its extensive position in Latin-America. In neighbouring Brazil, Statoil operates the Peregrino field, the Pão de Açúcar discovery and holds a large portfolio of exploration acreage. Statoil is also present in Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, Venezuela and Suriname.