Blocks in Mendoza's Neuquen, Cuyana Basins Attract 18


Argentina's Mendoza province received 18 bids by the deadline to explore four hydrocarbons blocks, Gabriela Zanetta, an engineer in the province's deputy department of mining, oil and hydrocarbons told BNamericas.

The four areas are the Nacunan and Los Tordillos Oeste blocks in the Cuyana basin as well as the Chachahuen and Rio Atuel blocks in the Neuquen basin.

The Chachahuen area, which has not been explored extensively, attracted the most interest, drawing nine offers.

Companies that presented bids for Chachahuen were the following: local oil firms Chanares Herrado, Oil M&S, CGC and Pluspetrol; the local YPF subsidiary of Spain's Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP); and the local subsidiary of US oil company Cliveden. Other bidders were Canadian oil firms Petroandina Resources and Petrolifera Petroleum and a consortium made up of Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), Italian oil company Tecpetrol and German oil company Wintershall Energia.

Meanwhile the Rio Atuel block attracted the following: Cliveden, YPF, Oil M&S, Korean oil company Golden Oil, and a consortium of Tecpetrol, Petrobras and Norwegian oil firm Petrolera El Trebol.

Two exploratory wells drilled in the Rio Atuel area showed gas productivity, while another well discovered oil.

The Los Tordillos block attracted Chanares Herrado, YPF and Golden Oil. A non-commercial oil find was discovered in 1969 at Los Tordillos and subsequent wells have shown signs of oil.

Chanares Herrado was the sole bidder for the Nacunan block, where many exploratory wells have been drilled in the past showing traces of hydrocarbons.

Although there is no set date for the province to award the concessions, Zanetta said it will definitely do so before year-end.

The four blocks are the first of 13 blocks in the Cuyana and Neuquen basins that the province aims to tender, with the remaining nine blocks to be offered in a second and third tender round.

Mendoza has not yet established dates for the five-block second round, although the tender could be launched before year-end, Zanetta said.

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