Occidental To Bid for Argentinean Licenses

Occidental Petroleum Corp. and a group led by Pluspetrol plan to bid for exploration blocks near Peru's Camisea natural gas field, Energy and Mines Minister Jaime Quijandria said in a statement. Pluspetrol, Argentina's third-biggest oil producer, leads a consortium that also includes SK Corp, Hunt Oil and Hidrocarburos Andinos SAC, which is developing Camisea.

Quijandria said only Occidental and the Camisea consortium had confirmed they would bid in an auction on May 25 for three blocks adjacent to Camisea, Peru's largest natural gas field.

The minister said Repsol YPF and TotalFinaElf had also expressed interest but had not confirmed they would take part in the tender.

"The deadline to confirm interest has already expired but we're asking them to ratify their decision in writing," Quijandria said.

Camisea, in Peru's southern jungle, has proven reserves of 13 trillion cubic feet (368 billion cubic meters) of gas and 600 million barrels of oil and liquid gas. The field is expected to be producing by 2004.