An Eni-led consortium has bagged the exploration licence for offshore block MLO 124 in the International Bid Round conducted by the Government of Argentina.

The licence award follows a successful bid for the block, which is located offshore in the Malvinas Basin. Block MLO 124 is located around 100km off the coast of Tierra del Fuego in water depths ranging from less than 100m to 650m. The licence area is spread over 4,418km².

Eni’s partners in the consortium include Argentina’s Tecpetrol and Japan’s Mitsui & Co. Eni is the operator of the consortium with an 80% working interest, while its partners hold 10% each.

The first phase of the exploration period will last for four years. During this period, the partners will perform a 3D geophysical survey covering the entire block and other geophysical potential field surveys.

Others awarded in the bidding round include Exxon Mobil, Total, YPF and Shell, Reuters reported. The government awarded exploration permits in 18 areas to companies that propose to invest $724m.

Firms that secured licences in Malvinas West basin include BP, Qatar Petroleum, Tullow Oil, Pluspetrol, Wintershall, and Equinor.

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By GlobalData

Citing the country’s economy ministry, Reuters reported that the licences will be issued between June and August 2019.

Companies with concessions in the deepest areas will have the rights to explore for up to 13 years, while those with concessions closest to the coast will have 11 years.