Statoil has signed an agreement to acquire a 35% working interest in offshore exploration block 15 in the Pelotas basin in Uruguay from Tullow.

Block 15 covers an area of approximately 8,000km² and lies in water depths of 2,000m to 3,000m.

Statoil exploration senior vice president Nicholas Alan Maden said: "With this transaction, we are increasing our exposure to the upside potential of this untested geological setting.

"This is in line with Statoil’s exploration strategy of access at scale."

Sucursal Uruguay operates the block with 35% working interest, while Inpex Uruguay owns the remaining interest.

"We are increasing our exposure to the upside potential of this untested geological setting."

Tullow already completed data collection programme in the block and plans to collect further 3D seismic prior to making a decision.

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The transaction is subject to government approval.

The announcement follows Statoil’s recently signed agreement to acquire 15% working interest in offshore exploration block 14 in Uruguay from Total E&P.

Block 14 is located in the Pelotas basin of the South Atlantic Ocean, 200km off the coast of Uruguay and covers 6,690km² area in water depths of 1,850m to 3,500m.

Total is set to retain a 50% working interest in the block.

Image: Block 15 lies in water depth of 2,000m to 3,000m. Photo: © Statoil.