Argentina Opens First Offshore Round in Decades
Argentina has launched its first offshore bidding round in nearly three decades. The country's energy secretariat published details regarding bidding terms and conditions for public bidding for exploration licences.
Energy secretary Javier Iguacel said in a series of twitter posts on November 6: “Today, we launch the tender for oil companies to explore the Argentine sea. This is the largest in the last 30 years. We have a unique opportunity to develop the extensive underwater platform, and take advantage of all its great hydrocarbon resource potential.”
The administration of president Mauricio Macri continues with efforts to improve reforms and attract investment. While the focus initially was on commercialisation of Argentina’s massive unconventional shale resources located in the Vaca Muerta formation, the newly launched offshore bidding round has potential to attract additional investments from companies interested in exploration potential offshore.
“Offshore Argentina is one of the least explored areas of our country. The new investments that come will allow us to continue expanding our gas and oil reserves horizon abroad,” announced Iguacel.
The areas on offer in the bidding round include: 14 blocks in Argentina’s deep-Atlantic region, 6 blocks in the Austral region, and 18 blocks in the Malvinas region, according to data published on the website of UK-based Earthmoves, a geological consultancy that specialises in frontier oil exploration, and salt tectonics.
It was not immediately clear if any of the 18 Malvinas region blocks are in contested waters. The Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) are a British overseas territory claimed by Argentina but there have been no hostilities since a war between both countries in 1982. UK firm Rockhopper has found oil and gas in the North Falkland Basin.
Interested companies can acquire access to data for $50,000 and must be registered to take part in the bidding process 30 days prior to the opening of the offering envelops, which is scheduled for March 14, 2019, according to the ministry.