Uruguay may have several offshore gas deposits

Oct 06, 2008 02:00 AM

Uruguay may have multiple offshore fields each containing as much as 3 tcf of natural gas along its 660-km (410-mile) coastline south of Brazil, the government said.
State energy company Administracion Nacional de Combustible Alcohol e Portland, known as ANCAP, has identified several reef areas that may indicate hydrocarbon reservoirs under the seabed, Mines, Energy and Industry Minister Daniel Martinez said. Uruguay may have similar geology to oil-rich areas near Brazil's Atlantic Coast and off southwest Africa, he said.

"Some bright spots have appeared'' in exploration, Martinez said Oct. 3 in London. "There are some that allow us to consider that they may be in the range of 2 to 3 tcf.''
Uruguay is seeking to boost energy investment as the government strives to become a net fuel exporter. Spain's Repsol-YPF and Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro are among companies that have expressed interest in the deposits, Martinez said. The Uruguayan natural-gas fields are in about 750 meters of water on the South American country's continental shelf.

Repsol, Spain's largest oil company, and the Rio de Janeiro-based company known as Petrobras are among oil companies drilling for crude in neighbouring offshore Brazil. Petrobras has estimated there are billions of barrels of reserves in Brazil's so-called pre-salt region.
ANCAP seismic studies of offshore Uruguay indicate at least one field holds 1 tcf to 3 tcf (28 bn to 85 bn cm) of gas, ANCAP's exploration and production manager Hector de Santa Ana said June 25. The field is located about 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) under the seabed.

On Dec. 1 the Uruguay government will unveil details of its first round of oil rights auctions scheduled for July 2009, Martinez said.
The government will auction rights to develop oil under shared production agreements with ANCAP, which will receive oil and gas revenue for Uruguay from the projects.

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