Argenta has announced that the Province of Mendoza has formally awarded the Loma El Divisadero Exploitation/Exploration concession by a provincial decree published on January 16, 2009 guaranteeing the ownership by Argenta until 2017 with a potential 10 year extension that can be negotiated in the future.
This process, which took close to two years, was subject to the Transference Law enacted by Argentina's Congress in 2007 which initially assigned the ownership of the mining rights to the provinces from the federal government and in the case of exploitation concessions, such as Loma El Divisadero, the title had been subject to review by the Province of Mendoza before the signing of a new decree awarding Argenta the rights to the concession until 2017.
Claudio Larotonda, President of Argenta stated, "We've been looking forward to receiving this decree for a long time as it provides the legal framework to invest, farm-out and control this asset reducing most of the operational risks. We are proud that the Loma El Divisadero concession is the first exploitation award signed by any province in Argentina since the Transference Law was enacted. In addition to the good timing with respect to Argenta's recently signed farm-out with Unitec and commencement of drilling in late February as announced on January 8th, it is also a very positive step for the Province of Mendoza in its goal to attract future investment in the region."
Loma El Divisadero Block (81,000 net acres)
The Loma El Divisadero Block (81,000 net acres) is located in the southern part of Mendoza Province, in the Platform area of the Neuquen basin, a few kilometres north of the biggest oil fields in Argentina. The Block was previously drilled by YPF in the 1960s through the 1980s with oil and gas shows on brief tests. After shooting 182 square kms of 3D seismic, Argenta discovered oil and gas at a depth of 1,000 to 1,200 meters in the Chorreado Mb, Huitrin Formation, with other shallower potential pay zones including the Rayoso and the Neuquen Formations which require further exploration. The Block is now under appraisal to determine the potential size of the reservoir.
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