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Jun 2023: Challenger Energy Group expects to be awarded the last remaining offshore block, AREA OFF-3 in water depths from 20 to 1,000m. All other licences are held by Shell, Apache and YPF in the offshore Punta del Este and Pelotas sedimentary basins.

Jan 2023: ANCAP awarded 2 offshore blocks in the 2022 Open Bidding Round to 3 companies, Shell with APA Corporation and YPF. The blocks are OFF-4 and OFF-5 respectively. These blocks are awarded in addition to OFF-1 block to Challenger in May 2020, OFF-2 and OFF-7 to Shell, and OFF-6 to APA all in May 2022.


Nov 2022: TGS commenced an offshore 3D data reprocessing program consisting of 25,000 sq kms in the active Licensing Round. It will be integrated with TGS' existing 23,000 km of 2D seismic coverage to define play fairways, leads, and exploration targets. First data will be available in Q1 2023.


Jan 2021: PGS has signed an agreement with state oil company ANCAP to reprocess over 11,000 km of 2D seismic to tie with PGS’s new15,600 sq km MultiClient 3D survey, covering the Punta del Este and Pelotas basins. New regional interpretation will help delineate their structural framework.


Jun 2020: Bahamas Petroleum Company has been awarded the Area Off-1 petroleum licence containing exploration plays in shallow waters analogous to Cretaceous turbidite discoveries off Guyana. It has an initial 4-year term with obligations limited to reprocessing and interpretation of 2D seismic data.


Oct 2018: ANCAP and MIEM have reviewed the system for awarding areas for the exploration and an Open Uruguay Round has been established. In this continuous process, companies can qualify and submit offers at any time with two bidding rounds per year in which offers are opened.


Jan 2018: Schuepbach Energy operations at the Cerro de Chaga-1 (Panizza) remain suspended due to delays. Petrel Energy has increased its interests in its Uruguay and Spain projects from 51% to 62.7% and continues to discuss forward funding with Schuepbach.


Oct 2017: Petrel Energy announced that Schuepbach Energy 51%-owned) has drilled the Cerro Padilla-1 well encountering oil shows, the first ever discovery of hydrocarbons in Uruguay. The well is being completed for production testing. Cerro Padilla-1 is the first of four conventional wells to be drilled in the Norte Basin, Piedra Sola and Salto concessions.

Sep 2017: ANCAP has launched Uruguay Round 3. Bidding terms are similar to those of Round 2 but with more flexible requirements. Seventeen areas are offered in 3 offshore basins. Areas will be divided into Type I, II and III according to water depth with the deadline for submission in April 2018.

Apr 2017: ANCAP will tender 17 offshore blocks in September over the Eastern del Plata and Punta del Este basins of up to 3,000m water depth. Offers are to be presented by April 2019 and the tender will be called Uruguay Round III. In 2009 and 2012 ANCAP held Rounds I and II.


Apr 2016: Total (operator), ExxonMobil and Statoil have begun drilling the first offshore well, Raya-1, in 40 years, 250 kms from the coast in the Pelotas Basin. At 3,411m it is the deepest offshore well by water depth ever to be drilled beating the current record of 3,170m set by ONGC off India.  

Feb 2016: Statoil has agreed with Total to acquire 15% of Block 14 in the Pelotas basin of the South Atlantic Ocean. Total has acquired 3D seismic data and is preparing to drill the Raya prospect during the first half of 2016 in ultra-deep waters.


Nov 2015: ExxonMobil has acquired 35% of Block 14 from operator, Total, which will drill the country’s first offshore well in mid-2016 in the Pelotas Basin in a water depth of over 2000m.

Aug 2015: BP has halted exploration activities 3 years after it won rights to explore Blocks 11 and 12 in the Pelotas basin and Block 6 in the Punta del Este basin. The company concluded that the chance of success could not compete with opportunities elsewhere.

Apr 2015: State oil and gas company, Ancap, may extend the length of its contracts with foreign companies drilling in its waters. BP, BG, Total, Tullow and Inpex, and YPF, Shell and Galp, have exploration agreements but oil price falls have deterred drilling.


No significant news in 2014.


Oct 2013: Total signed a deal with Ancap to search for oil in the northern counties of Artigas and Salto in an area of 6,200 sq kms. Exploration programs are scheduled to begin in 2014.

Oct 2013: Petrobras approved the sale of a stake in two licences in the Punta del Oeste Basin to Shell for US$17mm. Petrobras is selling fields, exploration rights and refineries to help finance a $237bn, 5-year investment plan.

Jul 2013: Petrel is about to start a 2 hole 2000m core drilling program targeting organic-rich shales in the Norte Basin. Two companies have been contracted to drill wells simultaneously to depths of 700 and 1300m over a 6 week period. The wells are the first deep holes in Uruguay for 30 years and the first focused on unconventional targets. SEI holds 100% in the Piedra Sola and Salto concessions in the Norte Basin with Petrel Energy holding 25% in SEI.

May 2013: INPEX will acquire a 30% interest in Block 15 from Tullow Oil, located 200 kms offshore and covering an area of 8,030 sq kms with a water depth of 2,000 to 3,300m. The block was awarded to Tullow in the Uruguayan Second Bidding Round in March 2012. Tullow will continue to act as the operator and retains 70%. Exploration activities including 3D seismic has been conducted since last December.


Oct 2012: After the second offshore licensing round, BP has signed PSCs for deep water Blocks 11 and 12 in the Pelotas basin, and Block 6 in the Punta del Oeste basin southeast of Montevideo in water depths of 50-2000m. BP will hold 100% with the state company (ANCAP) having a right to 30% in discoveries. Seismic acquisition will begin in 2013.  BG (3), Total (1), and Tullow (1) have also been awarded blocks.

South America


E and P


Uruguay Datafiles

Excel files - histories and forecasts of production and wells in any category for all countries and regions