Enarsa, Petrobras, Repsol YPF Ink Offshore Exploration Deal

Argentina's state oil company Enarsa, Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) and Spanish oil major Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP) met on Tuesday to sign an agreement for US$50mn worth of hydrocarbons exploration offshore Argentina, the Argentine government said in a statement.

The consortium will explore two "high-risk" offshore blocks. The first is 250km off the coast of Mar del Plata city while the other is 200km offshore southern Río Negro and northern Chubut provinces in the E-1 area.

Exploration works include aerogravimetry and magnetometry studies, the acquisition of 2,000m of 2D seismic and 500km of 3D seismic data and the drilling of an exploratory well if results are positive.

Enarsa and Petrobras will each hold 35% stakes in the consortium with the latter acting as the operator, while Repsol YPF will have 30%.

The companies will have five years to carry out the exploration works.

Some 85% of Petrobras' global reserves are offshore, which executives highlighted as key to the success of the project, which could require drilling as deep as 1,500m, according to government news service Telam.

This offshore exploration agreement is the fourth the companies have signed.

Executives from the companies also took the opportunity to announce plans to begin 3D seismic acquisition on the C-1 and CS-2 areas in October.

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