Total Austral, Wintershall Dea Argentina, and Pan American Sur have secured an extension for more than 10 years from the Argentine government for their offshore exploration concession in the Austral Basin.

The extension is valid until 2041, reported Reuters citing a government decree.

The Argentine government has also given its nod for a $700m investment plan of the three firms.

According to the decree, the investment will be made by the trio during the period between 2031 and 2041. The decree also establishes a 15% royalty payment of the production from the starting date of the extension.

The publication reported that the extension for exploring oil and gas in the 1,900km2 area comes as Argentina aims to strengthen its domestic energy supply, while cutting down its dependence on imports amid rising global prices.

The decree stated: “The extension request made by the exploration concessionaires is based on the need to have a longer time frame, given the complexity and high costs involved in the exploitation of offshore oil and gas.

“The extension is expected to allow the continuation of the development of investments in the area, in order to maintain a natural gas production flow of 20 million cubic meters per day.”

Total Austral, which is a subsidiary of TotalEnergies, and Wintershall Dea Argentina, a subsidiary of Wintershall Dea, each hold a stake of 37.5% in the concession. Pan American Sur holds the remaining 25% in the offshore Argentine block.

Earlier this year, Wintershall Dea had signed a deal worth $140m to sell its operated stake of 50% in the Aguada Federal and Bandurria Norte concessions in the Vaca Muerta shale oil play in Argentina to Vista Oil & Gas.