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Equinor wins seven exploration blocks offshore Argentina, ExxonMobil wins three, Shell two

Equinor

Equinor adds seven offshore exploration blocks to its portfolio, after presenting winning bids in the 1st Offshore Licensing Round in Argentina.

By Elio Ohep / Petroleumworld

CARACAS
Petroleumworld 04 17 2019

Norway's Equinor oil company won the right to explore seven blocks offshore Argentina, while ExxonMobil won three exploration blocks and Shell two during Argentina's first offshore bid round, the companies said on Tuesday.

A total of 38 blocks were offered in the licensing round, received offers for the exploration of three offshore hydrocarbon basins of 13 companies for 995 million dollars, the Energy Secretariat said in a statement on Tuesday, the first open bid round for Argentinean offshore acreage in more than 20 years.

The report states that of the total number of companies that made bids, there were four that until today had no operations in the country: Mitsui, BP, ENI and Tullow, while the list of bidders was completed by companies Qatar, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Total, YPF, Shell, Pluspetrol, Tecpetrol and Wintershall.

Equinor participated in the following winning bids:

Block name 

Size

Partnership

MLO 121

4291 km2

Equinor (operator,  100%)

MLO 123

3787 km2

Total (operator, 37.5%), YPF (37,5%) and Equinor (25%)

CAN 102

8965 km2

YPF (operator, 50%), Equinor (50%)

CAN 108

2882km2

Equinor (operator, 100%)

CAN 114

7079 km2

Equinor (operator, 50%), YPF (50%)

AUS 105

2157 km2

Equinor (operator, 100%)

AUS 106

2283 km2 

Equinor (operator, 100%)

“We are very pleased to succeed in this competitive licensing round and to have added significant prospective acreage to our exploration portfolio. These awards fit with our exploration strategy, providing us with access at scale in basins with high impact potential,” says Tim Dodson, Equinor's executive vice president for exploration.


Equinor entered Argentina in 2017 and holds a 50% interest in the Bajo del Toro licence (YPF operator, 50%) and is operator with 90 % equity in the Bajo del Toro Este licence (partner Gas y Petróleo del Neuquén, 10%). Equinor also holds a 50 % interest in the Guanizul 2A (G2A) solar asset in Argentina.

“We are looking forward to mature these new opportunities and work together with our partners YPF, Argentina's leading energy company, and Total, who has long experience from offshore activities in these waters,” says Dodson.

Equinor shares were up 1.6 percent in early trading, Reuters reported.

For ExxonMobil the award adds approximately 2.6 million net acres to its existing holdings in Argentina, which includes the onshore Vaca Muerta unconventional oil play and a business support center in Buenos Aires, after its subsidiary ExxonMobil Argentina Offshore Investments B.V. and an affiliate of Qatar Petroleum won three exploration blocks.

The blocks are located in the Malvinas basin, approximately 200 miles (320 kilometers) offshore Tierra del Fuego and include MLO-113, MLO-117 and MLO-118.

“We look forward to working with our co-venturer to explore this new opportunity in Argentina,” said Mike Cousins, senior vice president of ExxonMobil Exploration and New Ventures. “This potential play-opening opportunity will allow ExxonMobil to use its unique exploration capabilities and expertise as it evaluates this new acreage.”

ExxonMobil will operate the blocks with 70 percent working interest. A Qatar Petroleum affiliate will hold the remaining 30 percent. The initial work program will include 3-D seismic data acquisition. A resolution will be issued by Argentina's Secretariat of Energy confirming the public tender results.

Shell Argentina reported it won two deep-water blocks in the Argentine North Basin on Tuesday.

The blocks won by Shell have an area of 8,341 square kilometers and 7,862 square kilometers and extend to the edge of the continental shelf in waters ranging from 200 to 2,500 meters deep, the company reported.

"Its long-term potential would allow us to develop a deepwater portfolio, thus complementing our unconventional model in the Neuquén Basin," said Andy Brown, Shell's upstream director in a statement.

Sources: Equinor, ExxonMobil, Reuters.


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Reporting by Elio Ohep, editor@petrolemworld.com

Petroleumworld.com 04 17 2019

 

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