Mendoza Exploration Tender Attracts 11 Offers

The tenders to explore 12 hydrocarbons areas in the Cuyana and Neuquen basins in Argentina's Mendoza province have attracted 11 offers, a spokesperson for Mendoza's mining and petroleum ministry told BNamericas.

The blocks in the Cuyana basin include San Rafael, Pampa del Sebo, Zampal Norte, Nacunan and Tordillos Oeste.

The Neuquen basin blocks include Rio Diamante, Malargue, Cerro de los Leones, El Coiron, Payun Oeste, Chachahuen and Rio Atuel.

The Nacunan, Tordillos Oeste, Chachahuen and Rio Atuel blocks were tendered last year, but the province did not award the concessions despite receiving 18 offers, BNamericas previously reported.

OFFER ROUNDUP

Argentine oil company Ketsal presented an offer for all 12 blocks, according to a ministry statement.

Other bids were presented by the following: Argentine oil company Oil (Chachahuen, Rio Atuel and Rio Diamante blocks); Austral (Malargue); Terra (Cerro de los Leones and Payun Oeste); Petroandina (Chachahuen and Rio Diamante); Cia Gral Combustible (Chachahuen, Rio Diamante and Cerro de los Leones); Occidental YPF (Tordillos Oeste); YPF (Chachahuen, Rio Atuel, Cerro de los Leones and Payun Oeste); and Roch (Rio Diamante and Payun Oeste).

Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), Tecpetrol and Wintershall bid on the Chachahuen block using a transitory business union contract (UTE), as did Tecpetrol, Petrobras and El Trebol for the Rio Atuel block.

TOTAL INVESTMENT

The A and B envelopes were opened, and the total investment in the two areas could total US$375mn if the tenders are awarded to the company that made the highest economic offer for each block.

Mendoza's energy and oil ministry, however, will place equal weight on each company's technical bid and will not necessarily award tenders to the company that made the highest economic offer, the ministry spokesperson said.

"We're going to meet on Friday and then we'll decide how we will award the tenders," said the spokesperson. "It will probably be a period of two months or so before we make awards."

The period each company will have to explore differs for each block. "Some will be for two and a half years, others for three," said the spokesperson.

If petroleum or natural gas is found, the company can seek a concession from the province.

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