Repsol Leads Bid to Explore for Oil Off Argentina, Falklands

Dow Jones Newswires

BUENOS AIRES (Dow Jones Newswires), Jun. 8, 2009

A consortium led by Spanish oil firm Repsol YPF SA (REP) plans to explore for oil in international waters between Argentina and the Falkland Islands, officials from the company said Monday.

Exploration is slated to take place some 289 kilometers off the Argentine coast and begin in the first quarter of 2010, the officials said.

Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR) and BP PLC (BP)-controlled Pan American Energy are also part of the consortium. The consortium will invest $98 million in the project, an official at YPF in Argentina said.

Each company has roughly a one-third share in the project.

The YPF official said the project is similar to another effort announced by the consortium in December. That project aimed to find oil in blocks in the Cuenca Malvinas, located 200 kilometers from Tierra del Fuego.

"This is independent of that project," the official said, referring to the new offshore drilling plans even though the projects' drilling spots are located close to each other. The official said he had no new information about the evolution of previous project.

Argentine media reported Monday that exploration results of the previous effort were negative.

"This is in deep waters," the YPF official said. "We're in the stage of looking for equipment now."

The companies will be drilling exploratory holes at a depth of about 500 meters.

The consortium's announcement comes after Rockhopper Exploration announced on May 22 that it was making progress on an oil and gas exploration project in the North Falkland Basin, located to the northeast of Cuenca Malvinas.

The U.K. and Argentine governments recently presented updated competing claims to the United Nations over rights to these areas.  

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