US-based oil major ExxonMobil subsidiary ExxonMobil Argentina Offshore Investments and an affiliate of Qatar Petroleum had won exploration rights for three blocks offshore Argentina.


Image: A map showing exploration blocks offshore Argentina. Photo: courtesy of Equinor ASA.

The winning bids in the first offshore licensing round in Argentina will be subject to customary confirmation and regulatory approvals by the Argentinian authorities.

The partners secured rights for blocks exploration including MLO-113, MLO-117, and MLO-118 in the Malvinas West basin.

ExxonMobil will operate the blocks with 70% stake while Qatar Petroleum affiliate will own the remaining 30% interest.

Additionally, Qatar Petroleum, in consortium with an affiliate of Shell, has won the exploration rights for blocks CAN-107 and CAN-109 in the North Argentina basin.

For blocks CAN-107 and CAN-109, Shell’s affiliate is the operator with 60% stake and the remaining 40% interest is held by an affiliate of Qatar Petroleum.

Qatar Petroleum president and CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said: “We are pleased to have been awarded these offshore exploration blocks, which further strengthen QP’s footprint within Argentina along with our existing Neuquén basin unconventional assets.

“This important result marks yet another step towards implementing our international growth strategy, and maximizing synergies with our existing strong base in Latin America.”

A total of 38 shallow, deep and ultra-deep water blocks in the Austral, North Argentina, and Malvinas West basins were offered in the licensing round, which is claimed to be the first open bid round for Argentinean offshore acreage in more than 20 years.

As part of the licensing round, Norwegian firm Equinor has also secured rights for seven offshore exploration blocks in Argentina, including five as operator.

Equinor exploration executive vice-president Tim Dodson said: “We are very pleased to succeed in this competitive licensing round and to have added significant prospective acreage to our exploration portfolio.

“These awards fit with our exploration strategy, providing us with access at scale in basins with high impact potential.

“We are looking forward to mature these new opportunities and work together with our partners YPF, Argentina’s leading energy company, and Total, who has long experience from offshore activities in these waters.”