Ministry Keeps Offshore E&P Pre-qualification Open

Nicaragua's energy and mines ministry continues to accept pre-qualification documents for second round offshore oil E&P contracts following a temporary suspension, the ministry's oil development director Veronica Artiles told BNamericas.

Although the second round was temporarily suspended following reorganization, "the pre-qualification process for participation in a future round is still in force," Artiles said.

President Daniel Ortega, who took over from Enrique Bolanos on January 10, created the ministry as part of an organizational reform plan. The ministry has taken over oil exploration activities from energy regulator INE.

Before the transfer, pre-qualification was due to close in February and four companies had pre-qualified, BNamericas reported previously.

The ministry soon will launch a website where information on hydrocarbons activities and events will be available, Artiles said.

According to preliminary information, blocks in the second round cover 84,123 sq km and 33,546 sq km offshore the Caribbean and Pacific coasts respectively.

Contracts in this latest round will mirror those in the first round with up to 4,000 sq km per contract. The exploration and production periods are six and 30 years respectively.

Five E&P concession contracts were signed for the first round: Industrias Oklahoma Nicaragua (Indoklanicsa) picked up 19 Pacific offshore blocks (3,423 sq km); Infinity Energy Resources (Nasdaq: IFNY) Caribbean areas in the Perlas (2,291 sq km) and Tyra (3,330 sq km) blocks; and MKJ Exploraciones areas in Perlas (4,000 sq km) and Tyra (4,000 sq km).

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