Lima: India’s Reliance Industries Ltd and the China National Petroleum Corp. were among the companies awarded Peruvian oil and natural-gas exploration blocks.
The companies, which included India’s Jindal Steel and Power Ltd and Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, won the bidding for 17 blocks in the Amazon jungle, north coast and southern highlands during the Andean nation’s largest exploration bidding round, state oil-contracting agency Perupetro SA said on Thursday.
The contracts are part of a drive to line up $10 billion (Rs45,000 crore) in energy investment commitments to help spark 7% annual economic growth over the next five years. Peru, South America’s fifth largest gas producer, increased oil and gas exports by 25% to $2.3 billion last year.
“Oil prices have helped increase interest in Peru exploration,” Perupetro president Daniel Saba said in Lima. “We should have a total of 107 oil and gas contracts in place this year. We’ve never seen this level of interest before.”
Other companies picking up blocks included the UK’s Emerald Energy Plc., Dublin-based Pan Andean Resources, US-owned Petro-Tech Peruana SA, South Korea’s Kedcom Co. Ltd and a unit of India’s Ispat Industries Ltd.
“Asian companies are aggressively increasing their presence in Latin America in the hunt for oil and gas reserves,” David Voght, the Caracas-based managing director of oil consulting company IPD Latin America, said in a telephone interview. “The smaller independent firms are also capable of raising investment capital.”
State oil company Petroleos del Peru SA, known as Petroperu, marked its return to oil exploration 12 years after privatizing most of its assets, taking five blocks with Norway’s Discover Petroleum AS and one with Reliance, China National Petroleum and Argentina’s Pluspetrol SA.
“It’ll take a few years to produce a find, and then we’ll see the bigger companies move in,” Petroperu chief executive Cesar Gutierrez told reporters on Thursday. “We’ve gone from being a country with very few blocks to having over 100.”
Crude oil for October delivery fell 15 cents, or 0.2%, to $103.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price of oil futures has doubled over the past two years.