Argentina Offshore Auction Attracts Interest From Oil Producers

International oil firms including Norway’s Statoil, U.S. Anadarko Petroleum, China’s CNOOC and Malaysia’s Petronas have shown interest in Argentina’s auction this year of offshore blocks for exploration and production, the country’s energy minister said on May 9.

Argentina faces growing regional competition as countries with large oil reserves including Brazil and Mexico are offering a record number of areas while starting a new wave of energy reforms to attract foreign investment.

“It’s an unexplored area… We are expecting (to have) some companies already working in Argentina and new companies as well,” minister Juan Jose Aranguren said on the sidelines of an energy conference in Houston.

Argentina, which is still defining the areas to be included in its auction, expected to receive bids in late November and is giving incentives for oil companies currently exploring at its large Vaca Muerta shale play to move from pilot to full development phase.