MONTEVIDEO – A consortium formed by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, Argentina’s YPF, a unit of Spain’s Repsol YPF, and Portugal’s Galp wants to explore for oil and natural gas off Uruguay’s coast, Uruguayan Industry Minister Daniel Martinez said.
Uruguayan state-owned oil company ANCAP has 180 days to review the consortium’s proposal, Martinez said Wednesday.
Officials must decide whether or not “to approve, or not, one or two of the blocks for which the offer was presented,” ANCAP chief Raul Sendic said.
The decision on the approvals will be made carefully even though officials responsible for managing Uruguay’s oil resources are “under pressure in light of the possible riches” under the South American country’s waters, Sendic said.
The consortium’s offer came as the first phase of Uruguay Round 2009, a process started last year for giving foreign companies an opportunity to make oil exploration offers, ended.
The project was “a total success” because offers were made for two of the 11 blocks offered, Martinez said.
Exploration will take place “amid great lack of knowledge about the (offshore) area,” ANCAP exploration and production chief Hector de Santa Ana said.
The blocks the consortium is bidding for are located in the deepwater Punta del Este Basin on the maritime boundary with Argentina. EFE