Russia’s subsurface regulatory agency Rosnedra has launched the auction process for two oil blocks in the country's Orenburg region, hoping to attract interest from companies looking to explore for hydrocarbons in the vicinity of legacy deposits.

Statements posted online from the agency promoted investment opportunities for the Umirkinsky and Yemelyanovsky blocks, which lie in Orenburg's Matveyevsky and Ponomarevsky districts.

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The two blocks cover a total area of about 1500 square kilometres.

Rosnedra expects the Umirkinsky block to have a lower risk profile, as earlier appraisal work identified three deposits within its limits, in addition to two — Umirskoye and Grafskoye — that starting commercial oil production in 1974.

Though confirmed recoverable reserves of discovered structures within the block are estimated at 10.6 million barrels, Rosnedra believes the tract may contain upside.

The two legacy fields have been operated by Rosneft since its takeover of Russo-UK oil venture TNK-BP in 2013.

According to the agency, the Yemelyanovsky tract also hosts parts of two legacy developed fields — Agarovskoye and Barsukovskoye — together with the Fokinskoye field, which has yet to be tapped.

Rosnedra also said that two pipelines — one for oil and another for gas — cross the two blocks on offer, reducing potential investments for export infrastructure.

Applications to bid for 25-year exploration and development licences for the two blocks are open in the region’s capital of Orenburg until 14 January 2022, with the auctions scheduled to take place on 1 February.

According to the Russian Energy Ministry, Orenburgneft — the largest oil producer in the region — reported output of 195,000 barrels per day of oil between January and October this year against 253,000 bpd in the same period of 2020.