The province opened roughly 20 economic bids for 14 blocks from four companies last week and is analyzing the economic offers and work plans.
The province originally launched bidding for 15 blocks, although one of the blocks - El Tranquilo - was declared void.
Companies that remain in the bidding process are Bermuda-based energy company Geopark, Argentine oil companies Oil M&S and Misahar, and a consortium of Argentine firms Eduardo Costa and Epsur, Varas said.
The province received initial bids in December 2006 from 11 firms.
The areas will require some US$100mn in exploration works, Varas said.
The blocks are Gran Bajo Oriental, Meseta Ceron Chico, Rio Guenguel, Sur Rio Deseado, Sierra Espana, Lago Cardiel, Guanaco Muerto, Mata Amarilla, Laguna Grande, Piedra Buena, Paso Fuhr, Tapi Aike, El Turbio and El Turbio Este.
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