The next chapter in Uruguay’s quest for reduced dependence on foreign oil commenced this week with the announced seismic exploration of two large oil blocks in Uruguay.
Dallas-based Schuepbach Energy International (SEI) holds the concessions for the Salto block which occupies 925,000 acres entirely in Salto and the Piedra Sola block which encompasses over 2.5 million acres in four northern Uruguay departments including Durazno, Paysandu, Salto and Tacuarembo. The exploration agreements were signed with state-owned ANCAP in 2009 and 2012, respectively.
Sydney-based Petrel Energy Limited holds a 51% interest in SEI and the option to increase its shareholding in the Uruguay venture to 60% for an additional US$6 million. Through a Uruguay Seismic Update press release, Petrel said the equipment for the 580-kilometer 2-D seismic survey arrived in July, parameter testing was successfully completed and seismic acquisition has commenced.
Earlier stages of the exploration have yielded promising results in Uruguay’s Norte Basin which shares similar oil-producing characteristics of the prodigious Parana Basin in southern Brazil. Petrel says the 2013 magnotometry study and subsequent corehole drilling program confirmed conventional reservoired oil in the sandstones and unconventional oil in the shales.
According to La Red 21, the results of the seismic survey will be sent to the US and analyzed by Scheupbach geologists. The company will reportedly decide by year’s end if it will move forward with Uruguay drilling. If the blocks are comercially viable, the company will distribute dividends equally with ANCAP based on a “variable ratio” which takes into account gross revenues and the associated costs and investments realized by the company.
Uruguay, which currently imports 50,000 barrels of oil daily for domestic consumption, is undergoing an energy revolution encompassing onshore hydrocarbons, offshore exploration, and an aggressive renewable energy plan including a mix of large-scale biomass, solar and wind projects. (Full Story in Spanish)
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