Pan American Acquires Stake Malvinas Basin

As Desire Petroleum gets under way with its latest seismic survey of the North Falklands Basin, Pan American Energy has acquired interests in the neighboring Malvinas Basin offshore Tierra del Fuego, in other words, Argentine waters.

Pan American has picked up 35% interests in blocks 40 and 46 operated by Repsol-YPF. Total, which has a 31% stake in block 46, has apparently ordered a seismic campaign across both blocks (aggregate area 6,500sq km) with a view to exploration drilling starting next year.

The hidden twist to this is that it would put BP in the South Atlantic as it is a 60% stakeholder in Pan American Energy, with Argentinean corporation Bridas holding the balance of ownership.

Whether this campaign can in any way be made to link with Desire's aspirations to restart drilling in Falklands waters is open to question, though it will perhaps be investigated. BP's indirect involvement could prove important in this regard. The super-major did not participate in the Falklands drilling campaign of 1997-98 as its priorities lay elsewhere at that time. The Tierra del Fuego maneuver begs the question as to what BP might do next in the South Atlantic.