Together with an affiliate of Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil has won three new exploration blocks offshore of Argentina, some 200 miles off the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the Malvinas basin.
ExxonMobil, the oil major behind Mobil distributors, had already entered into an agreement with Qatar Petroleum to allow the Qatari state-owned oil company access to shale assets in Argentina. As part of the deal, ExxonMobil sold a 30% stake in two of its Argentinian affiliates. In line with this, Qatar Petroleum will hold a 30% stake in the new blocks, while ExxonMobil will hold the remaining 70%. The two oil companies have a growing history of collaboration, having also worked together on Mozambique’s Zambezi and Angoche basins and Brazil’s Tita area for the Santos basin.
ExxonMobil already holds 315,000 net acres in Argentina. This includes a business support center in capital city Buenos Aires, which employs 1,700 Argentinian people and serves various corporate needs in areas such as finance, information technology, and human resources. It also holds a number of blocks in the onshore, unconventional oilfield of the Neuquén Basin of Vaca Muerta. The three new blocks will add 2.6 million net acres to the company’s holdings in the country.
The new blocks indicate a change of direction for ExxonMobil, which has previously been hesitant to develop operations in Argentina. The reasons for this include controls on natural gas prices in the South American country and the relatively long distance from its US shale operations, in which the company has been heavily investing.