Repsol, British Gas and TotalFinaElf to Explore Offshore Argentina

Repsol YPF and British Gas consortium, engaged in offshore exploration in one of the highest-potential areas for oil and gas in the southern Atlantic, known as the Argentinian Cuenca Austral, has grown to include TotalFinaElf. The shareholding structure of this consortium is now as follows: Repsol YPF is operator with 38%, British Gas raises its stake by 11% to 31%, and TotalFinaElf joins the group with 31%. The exploration zone comprises the offshore blocks called CAA-39, CAA-40 and CAA-46, located between Tierra de Fuego, off the southern tip of Argentina, and the Islas Malvinas.

These blocks were originally awarded to YPF through the "Plan Argentina" tenders on mining concessions. Covering an area of 21,754 km2, they are over 150 km offshore from the nearest coastline, at a sea-depth of over 500 meters. During the first exploration period, the companies will carry out seismic surveys using special technology, adapted to these extreme deep-sea exploration conditions. Agreements with British Gas and TotalFinaElf have broadened the original consortium established to carry out exploration activities, and British Gas, as part of its agreement, has transferred to Repsol YPF 100% of the rights on the Barranca Yankowsky area in the Golfo San Jorge basin (Chubut province). Synergies with the Repsol YPF assets in this basin will make it possible to produce gas and oil from Barranca Yankowsky, and to set up additional marketing agreements.

Repsol YPF is the main oil and gas producer in Argentina, and offshore mining activity is a core element in the company's strategy for reserves replacement and the expansion of business possibilities, as part of an ongoing comprehensive exploration program.

The advanced technology exploration activity being conducted in the Cuenca Austral of Argentina reinforces Repsol YPF's commitment to oil operations in that country, in which it has great confidence, and strengthens the company's ongoing commitment to investment there.