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Japan: Japanese oil company to explore Uruguayan offshore platform


In statements to El Observador, ANCAP’s exploration and production manager Hector Santa Ana stated that both companies have by presently drafted a farm out (transfer of rights) for ANCAP’s approval.

Santa Ana said that this type of transaction (the sale of part of the blocks) was within the possibilities outlined in the arrangement the Uruguayan National signed with the four companies operating the eight blocks of the Uruguay Ronda II, albeit within certain limits. Each company may divest up to a maximum of 30% of its stake in the block, but cannot forsake its major operator status in its assigned area.

The Uruguayan offshore platform continues to advance its world positioning and increase its economic price as the Irish firm Tullow Oil, which is currently conducting exploration work in Block 15 of the Uruguayan offshore platform, sold 30% of its stake in its exploration arrangement to leading Japanese oil company Inpex.

“This kind of news is positive for the entire offshore Uruguay basin. Today Tullow is selling its 30% stake at a higher price than its original bid for this block,” said Santa Anta. He said that only formal ANCAP approval is pending as there are no technical or financial objections. Inpex is the leading oil company in Japan, and is one of the top 100 major companies in its sector. Santa Ana stressed that the participation of the Japanese company is positive because it “dilutes” the risk and ensures additional “financial support” to meet the scheduled exploration studies.

ANCAP has received a proposition from one of the world's leading oil companies to take up the place left vacant by Brazil's Petrobras, which today has 40% interest in Blocks 3 and 4 of the Uruguayan offshore platform, a move within the in general strategy outlined by Petrobras management. Santa Ana declined to identify the company until the official proposition is not tendered to the board.
Additional than U.S. $ 500 million

A year into the exploration of the eight offshore platform blocks has seen in excess of U.S. $ 500 invested by BG, BP, Total and Tullow Oil, out of the $ 1,562 million agreed. Some companies have carried out 75% of its various 2D and 3D seismic surveys at the different blocks awarded.

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