Salta to Launch Tender for 11 Blocks April 17

Northwest Argentina's Salta province will begin selling bidding rules for the exploration of 11 blocks on April 17, according to a statement from the provincial government.

The blocks are located in the Puna, Cordillera Oriental, Sierras Subandinas and Chaco Salteño zones of the province.

The province will sell the bidding rules through May 8 and open offers on May 23, the statement said.

Several companies have already expressed interest in the blocks, including US oil company Apache (NYSE: APA) and Argentine oil firm Pluspetrol, said Salta province exploration program chief Daniel Garkus.

The province plans to award the blocks in June.


The blocks are dubbed Arizaro, Cobres, General Güemes, La Union, Metan, Joaquin V Gonzalez, Rio Colorado, Rivadavia, Rosario de la Frontera, Valles Calchaquies and Valle de Lerma.

Varying degrees of exploratory works have been carried out.

The 2,558sq km Cobres block, for example, has extensive seismic data that was carried out by former state oil firm YPF and more recently US oil major Texaco. The latter located a drilling site though never drilled a well, according to tender documents obtained by BNamericas.

The 8,971sq km General Guemes block comprises part of the former Santa Barbara block and the entire former Ollero block and features several wells and various discoveries.

The 6,809sq km Metan block has had some seismic data collected and seven wells drilled.

The 5,259sq km Valle de Lerma block does not have much seismic data, although one of the two wells drilled on the block showed oil.

The 4,510sq km Rosario de la Frontera block has also shown oil traces in two wells.

Exploration has been conducted on the 2,467km Union block and two non-commercial wells drilled.

Seismic data for the 1,313sq km Rio Colorado block has isolated some locations for wells and it is "suggested" several previously drilled wells be reevaluated, the documents say.

Both the 8,414sq km Joaquin V Gonzalez block and the 6,338sq km Rivadavia block have seen very little exploration and only one well drilled, while the 8,461sq km Arizaro block has had no exploration whatsoever.

South Korean oil company Dong Won conducted seismic on the 5,756km Valle Calchaquies block in 1996, although no oil wells have yet been drilled.

Bidding rules for each of the blocks are priced at US$5,000.

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