Salta Launches Exploration Tender for 11 Blocks

Northwest Argentina's Salta province has started selling bidding rules for exploration of 11 blocks, a spokesperson from the provincial mining and energy resources department told BNamericas in an email.

The blocks are in the Puna, Cordillera Oriental, Sierras Subandinas and Chaco Salteno zones. The blocks are dubbed Arizaro, Cobres, General Guemes, La Union, Metan, Joaquin V Gonzalez, Rio Colorado, Rivadavia, Rosario de la Frontera, Valles Calchaquies and Valle de Lerma.

The province will sell the bidding rules through May 8 and open offers May 23, with plans to award the blocks in June.


Varying degrees of exploratory works have been carried out on the blocks.

The 2,558 sq 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 Chevron. The latter located a drilling site though never drilled a well, according to tender documents obtained by BNamericas.

The 8,971 sq 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 6,809 sq km Metan block has had some seismic data collected and seven wells drilled.

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

The 4,510 sq 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 1,313 sq km Rio Colorado block has isolated some locations for wells and it is "suggested" several previously drilled wells be reevaluated, the documents says.

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

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

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