Peru offers oil and gas exploration blocks, technical agreements

HOUSTON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - (This Feb. 2 story has been corrected to fix basins to 18 from eight, and producing areas to five from three in paragraph 2)

Peru's state energy agency PeruPetro is offering areas for oil and gas exploration through direct negotiations with interested companies and up to 31 separate technical contracts, hoping to boost the nation's reserves, officials said on Thursday.

President Dina Boluarte's administration is relaxing some participation terms and issuing a new call for investment. Of the Andean country's 18 basins with potential, only five are producing.

The 31 areas on offer for two-year technical evaluation agreements are located at Peru's Marañon, Ucayali, Salaverry, Madre de Dios and Tumbes basins, PeruPetro's board member Fernando Ruiz Lecaros told investors in Houston.

U.S.-based Jaguar Exploration, Canada's PetroTal (TAL.V) and China's state oil company CNPC (CNPET.UL) have submitted requests to sign technical agreements, officials from the agency said.

"Due to higher oil and gas prices, we are seeing more interest from investors in these technical agreements," Ruiz Lecaros said.

After the two-year evaluation period, the contracts give companies a chance to negotiate an exploration license with PeruPetro.


Peru's government also expects that a separate contract negotiation for Block 192 with state-run oil company Petroperu will be completed in the coming months. An agreement could allow the firm to restart oil output next year at the idled Amazonian field, energy Vice Minister Enrique Bisetti said.

Any new output would be transported through the Norperuano pipeline, which recently has worked intermittently amid protests and interruptions, officials said.

Block 192 is the country's largest field and was one of its leading oil producing areas for decades. Production there was halted in 2020 after extensive damage to the surrounding forest, followed by Frontera Energy's exit of the area and Petroperu's struggles to provide the required credit guarantees.

The officials said widespread protests in Peru have not affected oil or gas production, but have had an impact on some mining operations.

"Reducing social conflict is one of our largest challenges," Bisetti said.

Reporting by Marianna Parraga

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Focused on energy-related sanctions, corruption and money laundering with 20 years of experience covering Latin America's oil and gas industries. Born in Venezuela and based in Houston, she is author of the book "Oro Rojo" about Venezuela's troubled state-run company PDVSA and Mom to three boys.