Peru’s state hydrocarbons promotion agency, Perupetro, plans to initiate a new round of exploration and production (E&P) at the end of June 2009, it has been revealed.

About 17-19 blocks will be placed for auction in this round, which is part of a government drive to boost exploration in order to become a net hydrocarbons exporter over the next few years.

In March 2009, the agency said the latest round would be open in July 2009, due to recent differences involving indigenous groups and E&P activity in the nation.

In April 2009, Perupetro signed 13 new licences, which raised the number of contracts in force to 92. The 13 contracts will require an estimated investment of $650m.

If hydrocarbons are discovered, the average royalty companies will pay is 30% of the value of the oil or gas output.