Two Bid on Neuquen's Rio Barrancas Block

Argentina's Neuquen province has received two bids for an E&P contract on the Rio Barrancas block, the province said in a statement.

The bids came from two consortiums: one from local engineering firm Ingenieria Sima and the YPF subsidiary of Spanish oil major Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP); and the other from German oil company Wintershall Energia and Argentina's Petrobras Energia (NYSE: PZE).

The economic bids will be opened in the first half of January and the contract awarded in the last days of the same month or in February, the statement said.

The winning bidder will carry out a three-year exploration period. Neuquen province-controlled oil company Hidenesa only will begin to participate with a 10% stake if a hydrocarbons discovery is made, which would come in addition to the province's 12% royalty rate.

The province plans to tender an additional 20 blocks through end-2007.

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