South American Oil Majors Team Up to Explore Offshore Uruguay

BUENOS AIRES (Dow Jones Newswires), Jul. 1, 2009

YPF SA has won a bid to explore for oil in offshore blocks near the coast of Uruguay, the company said in a statement late Wednesday.

YPF will have a 40% stake in the exploration, sharing the other 40% with Petrobras Uruguay, a unit of the Brazilian oil giant Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA, and Portugal's GALP, which has a 20% share.

YPF will operate the deep water "exploratory block 3" while Petrobras will operate the shallow water "exploratory block 4," both located along the coast of Punta del Este.

YPF is a unit of the Spanish oil firm Repsol YPF SA. However, a YPF official said the decision to participate in this project was made locally by local management.

YPF didn't say how much it plans to invest in the project.

"These two awards represent the return of YPF as an international operator and they form part of a strategic exploration association in the South Atlantic between Argentina and Petrobras," YPF said.

The news comes several weeks after a consortium led by Repsol YPF announced plans to explore for oil in international waters between Argentina and the Falkland Islands.

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

Petrobras and BP-controlled Pan American Energy are also part of that consortium, which will invest $98 million in the project.

In May, Rockhopper Exploration PLC announced that it was making progress on an oil and gas exploration project in the North Falkland Basin, located to the northeast of Cuenca Malvinas.  

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