Uruguay’s state-owned company ANCAP has awarded three offshore blocks to Shell and APA Corporation (formerly Apache) under the 2022 Open Bidding Round.

Through its subsidiary BG International, Shell won the rights to deepwater block OFF-7 and shallow-water block OFF-2 while APA secured the rights to block OFF-6.

The three blocks are in addition to the OFF-1 block, which was previously awarded to Challenger Energy.

Of the new blocks awarded, only the OFF-2 block received competing bids from Shell and APA Corporation.

In the initial four-year exploration period, Shell’s scope of work in relation to block OFF-2 and block OFF-7 includes the acquisition of new 3D seismic data.

Pertaining to block OFF-6, APA will carry out drilling at an exploration well in the initial four-year exploration period.

ANCAP anticipates that the aggregate value of work pertaining to technical and exploration activities across blocks OFF-2, OFF-6, and OFF-7 to total approximately $200m.

In a press statement, Challenger said: “Challenger Energy considers the entry into Uruguay of two well regarded international companies, and the commitment by both to undertake sizeable and meaningful work programs during an initial exploration period (including 3D seismic acquisition and new well drilling), to be a highly positive development, validating both the company’s decision to enter Uruguay in 2020 and underscoring the solid technical foundation and excellent value proposition represented by the OFF-1 block.”

Earlier this year, Shell, through its subsidiaries, signed three production sharing contracts with Petronas for four offshore oil and gas exploration blocks in Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia.

The contracts are for the exploration of blocks SK439/SK440 located in shallow water off the Sarawak coast. Also included is the exploration of the SB-2W and SB-X blocks in deep water off the Sabah coast.