The approval opens the door for US Oil Guatemala to begin the 25-year contract's six-year exploratory phase, the energy and mines ministry's (MEM) hydrocarbons director Jorge Silva told BNamericas.
US Oil Guatemala and the ministry signed the contract for the 39,500ha block on June 28 this year. A reserves estimate was not immediately available.
The next step is for the company to draft an environmental impact study, which the natural resources and environment ministry must approve, Silva said.
If oil is found, the company will have to pay a 20% royalty of net production to the government if it decides to continue this subsequent phase.
Regarding tenders for Peten blocks A1-2005 and A9-2005, the official said the launch of bidding still is pending government approval.
A1 takes up 102,000ha with reserves estimated at 374-765 million barrels (Mb). A9 covers 107,000ha with reserves estimated at 460Mb-1.07 billion barrels.
Last year, the government awarded UK oil firm Taghmen Energy's local subsidiary PetroLatina an E&P contract in Peten block A7-2005, which has reserves estimated at 54.1Mb.
The official said the contract has been signed and works are beginning.
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