BPZ to Sign Area XIX Contract Dec. 12

Houston-based oil company BPZ will sign an exploration and production contract with Peru's state investment promotion agency Perupetro on December 12 for Area XIX in northern Peru's Tumbes department, a Perupetro source told BNamericas.

The exploration phase is for seven years. The source did not say how much investment is BPZ will have to commit to. The contract will be the second Perupetro has signed this week and it will likely be the last contract signed this year, the source said.

Perupetro signed a contract on Wednesday with Spanish oil company Repsol YPF and US company Burlington Resources for block 90 in eastern Peru's Ucayali basin, the source said. Repsol YPF will be the operator of the block with a 76.15% stake, and Burlington will hold the remaining 23.85% interest. The block is approximately 800,000ha.

The minimum work program for the block requires investment of about US$55mn over seven years. The companies will carry out 2D seismic studies and drill four exploration wells over the seven years if the results of the initial studies are promising.

Repsol YPF will also partner with Burlington on block 57 near the Camisea gas field, but President Alejandro Toledo is unlikely to issue a supreme decree approving the contract until January-February, the source said.

Perupetro is also preparing to sign a contract with local company Compania Consultora de Petroleo (CCP) for block 100 in the Maranon basin, but that is pending the President's approval and will probably be signed early next year as well, the source said. As for block 101, also in Maranon, Perupetro is wrapping up negotiations with US-based oil company Occidental and will present the contract to Perupetro's board next week, the source said, adding the contract could then be signed in the first quarter 2004.

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