BP, BG Group, Total, Tullow to Explore for Oil in Uruguay

BP Plc (BP/), BG Group Plc (BG/), Total SA (FP) and Tullow Oil Plc (TLW) won bids to explore for offshore deposits in Uruguay, the country’s state oil company Ancap said.

The four companies will invest $1.56 billion in three years of exploration in the country, Raul Sendic, the head of Ancap, told reporters in Montevideo. The companies were selected from a total of 19 bidders, Ancap said in a separate statement today.

Uruguay is betting that the companies may discover offshore oil deposits similar to those that have been identified in neighbor Brazil’s Santos Basin. YPF SA (YPFD), Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4) and Galp Energia SGPS SA (GALP) won a first round of bids in Feb. 2010.

Ancap will hold a minority stake in each of the concessions that will expire in 30 years, the company said. Early exploratory work must be completed within a 3-year period.

BP will invest $532 million in exploration on the three blocks it won, Sendic said. BG will invest $672 million and Total will spend $344 million and is the only company that will drill a well in the first three years, Sendic said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Craze in Santiago at mcraze@bloomberg.net; Lucia Baldomir in Montevideo at lbaldomir@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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