Central American Opportunity

Guatemala due to open 2012 Bid Round
This article appeared in Vol. 9, No. 5 - 2013


Source: IHS According to Energy and Mining Minister Erick Archila, Guatemala will be opening seven blocks covering nearly 8,000 km2 in the onshore Petén Basin to international bidders and has already made several investor briefings. Guatemala’s 2012 Bid Round comprises 22 blocks in seven onshore areas with a total of 7,958 km2. The blocks are Cotzal 1-2012 (2 blocks, 809 km2), San Francisco 2-2012 (3 blocks, 1,270 km2), La Libertad 3-2012 (3 blocks, 1,053 km2), Laguna Blanca 4-2012 (4 blocks, 1,589 km2), Cancuén 5-2012 (3 blocks, 1,173 km2), El Cedro 6-2012 (3 blocks, 347 km2) and Xalbal (4 blocks, 1,717 km2). No blocks will be offered in the Amatique Basin on the Gulf of Honduras, or the Pacific Basin at this time although the minister indicated the potentially gas-prone Pacific region could be ready for bids in 2014. The winning bidders are expected to be announced early in 2013.

Oil production in Guatemala, Central America’s biggest crude producer, has fallen to 10,000 bopd from 30,000 bopd over the last 30 years, according to Archila, but he intends to increase production to 80,000 bopd by 2022, he said in a July interview. He had earlier advised that ‘optimal conditions for investors’ would be offered and ‘transparency and clarity’ in the bidding process would ensure successful long-term production for Guatemala.

The Petén Basin covers an area of over 59,500 km2 and is underexplored. A relatively late structural high known as the La Libertad Arch divides the basin into northern and southern sub-basins. In the South Petén Basin more than 10,000m of sediment has accumulated since Permian times. Little is known about the Permian and Jurassic sediments because so few wells have penetrated them and the main oil reservoirs lie within the Cretaceous sediments. In the Petén Basin these Cretaceous rocks are called the Coban Formation, which is further divided into Coban A, B, C and D members. They consist of interbedded limestone, dolomites and anhydrites and most of the oil reservoirs discovered to date have been in fractured dolomites in the Coban B, C and D members. Significant production also occurs from these reservoirs in the Chiapas area of southern Mexico. The source rocks for oil have not been definitively identified but they are thought to include carbonates of the Coban A. Good quality Jurassic-age marine sediments may also generate oil in the Petén Basin. To date the country hosts around 160 drilled wells of which only 58 produced oil. The majority of the oil produced in Guatemala is heavy, with 16°API and 6% sulphur.


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