ExxonMobil has increased holdings in Argentina after its subsidiary ExxonMobil Argentina Offshore Investments BV and an affiliate of Qatar Petroleum won three exploration blocks during Argentina’s first offshore bid round, the company said on April 16.
The award adds approximately 2.6 million net acres to its existing holdings in Argentina, which includes the onshore Vaca Muerta unconventional oil play and a business support center in Buenos Aires.
The blocks are located in the Malvinas Basin, approximately 200 miles (320 km) offshore Tierra del Fuego and include MLO-113, MLO-117 and MLO-118.
“We look forward to working with our co-venturer to explore this new opportunity in Argentina,” Mike Cousins, senior vice president of ExxonMobil Exploration and New Ventures, said. “This potential play-opening opportunity will allow ExxonMobil to use its unique exploration capabilities and expertise as it evaluates this new acreage.”
ExxonMobil will operate the blocks with 70% working interest. A Qatar Petroleum affiliate will hold the remaining 30%. The initial work program will include 3-D seismic data acquisition. A resolution will be issued by Argentina’s Secretariat of Energy confirming the public tender results.
ExxonMobil through its subsidiaries in Argentina currently holds interest in approximately 315,000 net acres spanning seven blocks in the onshore Neuquén Basin of the Vaca Muerta formation. The business support center in Buenos Aires employs approximately 1,700 Argentine citizens in various corporate functions such as human resources, information technology and finance.
The contract will extend by 20 years the current contract with the same companies that will expire in late 2023.
The company plans to start Aerfugl production in first-half 2020, three years ahead of what had originally been billed as the field’s second phase.
The new deadline applies to the second bid round for onshore and offshore blocks that the state energy firm launched last May, a spokesman told Reuters.