MONTEVIDEO – A consortium led by France’s Total and U.S.-based supermajor ExxonMobil Corp. will start drilling for oil off Uruguay, Industry, Energy and Mining Minister Carolina Cosse said.
“Exploratory drilling activities have started on the sea floor. A well will be drilled 3,400 meters (11,147 feet) deep in the water and (then) more than 2,000 meters (6,555 feet) into the ground,” Cosse said in an interview with the presidential communications office.
Total was granted the most desirable offshore sector in 2012 in an auction held by the Uruguayan government.
In November 2015, the French company sold a 35 percent stake in the project to ExxonMobil.
Norway’s Statoil bought a 15 percent stake in the project in January and although Uruguayan state-owned oil company ANCAP has approved the deal, registration procedures have not been completed and the Norwegian firm does not officially appear in the ownership group as drilling begins, officials told EFE.
Work on the well started at 3:00 a.m. Wednesday, Cosse said.