Uruguay signals onshore round

Ancap offer: Uruguay plans fresh onshore licensing round

Uruguay’s national oil company, ANCAP, will launch a licensing round later this year to offer exploration and production rights on six onshore blocks, the company’s upstream director has said.

The decision to push ahead with an onshore offering was taken in response to ANCAP's perceptions of strong interest in Uruguay's oil & gas sector at present, ANCAP’s E&P director Hector de Santa Ana said, in an interview with Montevideo newsapaper El Observador.

The move also came after a slight slowing of the pace in the licensing process for the offshore acreage.

The launch of the next offshore round has now been slated for the end of 2015, a few months later than market expectations.

Uruguay’s second offshore round was a roaring success in 2012, attracting successful bids from BP, BG, Total and Tullow Oil as well as a farm-in move by Shell.

France’s Total is planning to spud a first deep-water wildcat in the region in October 2015.

The onshore blocks will be carved out of acreage relinquished by Argentina’s state company YPF in the north-western region of Uruguay. ANCAP will offer 30-year production permits in the onshore round, the report said.

Exploration will take place in three-year period, followed by another two-year phase with a deep well commitment.

Bidding will be based on investment commitments and profit-sharing and ANCAP will be guaranteed a 50% stake in any commercial find, Santa Ana told the newspaper.

Onshore operations in Uruguay are currently restricted to two contracts with a partnership between US firm Schuepbach Energy and Australia’s Petrel Energy, and a third with Total.

Schuepback has reported oil finds on its Northern Basin shale play. The partners plan to start shooting 620 kilometres of new 2D seismic in June or July.

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