Consortium Plans US$30mn for Initial Offshore Exploration

The consortium set to explore the E-1 block in Argentina's offshore Colorado Marina basin will invest more than US$30mn in the initial exploration phase, the local YPF subsidiary of Spanish oil firm Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP) said in a statement.

The consortium is made up of YPF, which will act as operator with its 35% stake, Argentina's state energy company Enarsa (35%), Argentine energy company Petrobras Energia (25%) (NYSE: PZE) and the Petrouruguay subsidiary of Uruguay's state oil firm Ancap (5%).

YPF and Enarsa have signed a contract with US seismic company WesternGeco for the 3D seismic works, which will require three months of round-the-clock evaluation.

If exploration results are positive, the consortium will invest US$30mn for the drilling of each subsequent offshore well.

YPF plans to invest US$500mn in exploration activities in Argentina from 2005-09, of which US$200mn will be earmarked for offshore exploration.

YPF expects total investment in the country through the five-year period to reach US$7bn, US$400mn more than the company forecast in December 2005, the statement said.

WesternGeco is jointly owned by US oil service companies Schlumberger and Baker Hughes.

The E-1 block is made up of former CAA 44 and CAA 7 blocks.

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