Salta is tendering the following blocks: Hickman, Tartagal Oriental, Chirete, Morillo, La Union and Malvala. The areas cover Anta, Rivadavia and San Martin departments.
"The offers reached our expectations and in some cases surpassed them," provincial deputy energy minister Mariano Arce Lloveras said.
An energy department engineer told BNamericas the winners are practically decided upon and an official announcement is due in coming days. Contract signing will take place 30 days after the announcement.
The contracts will run four years with options for subsequent three and two-year periods, the engineer said.
Preliminary work will begin immediately, but groundwork probably not until March, when rains diminish, the official added.
A consortium of Argentine oil company Tecpetrol and Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) presented an offer for Hickman.
Tecpetrol, Petrobras and US oil company Occidental (NYSE: OXY) each submitted bids for the Tartagal Oriental area.
The following presented bids for the Chirete area: US oil company Cliveden; a consortium of Oxy and Chinese oil company JHP; and a consortium of the local YPF subsidiary of Spain's Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP), Argentine oil company Pluspetrol and Canadian oil company Gran Tierra.
Korean oil company Petroterra was the only bidder for the Morillo, La Union and Malvala areas.
The blocks together cover more than 29,000 sq km and are classified as medium and high risk.
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