GEO ExPro

Exploration Update - Uruguay

2m oil-saturated sand marks the first technical discovery in the country.
This article appeared in Vol. 14, No. 6 - 2018

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Location map showing location of Cerro Padilla-1 exploration well, onshore Uruguay. Hopes that Uruguay had made its first oil discovery were dashed when Australian operator, Petrel Energy, which has a 51% controlling interest in Uruguay oil and gas explorer Schuepbach Energy, said that testing of 2m oil-saturated sand from its Cerro Padilla-1 exploration well on the onshore Piedra Sola Block was not considered a success. It did, however, mark the first time a well had been tested in Uruguay with oil being recovered to the surface, thus making it the first technical, if not commercial, discovery in the country. Petrel CEO David Casey attributed the lack of commercial success in the test to the well location being off structure at the base of a thin oil zone but said it bodes well for the rest of the drilling programme and especially the next well, which has multiple and much larger potential targets.

Cerro Padilla-1, which is located about 300 km due north of the capital, Montevideo, had a pre-drill P90 oil in-place estimate of 21 MMbo. It was spudded on 4 June 2017 with the aim of confirming the reservoir potential of the Permian Tres Islas Sand and the Permian source rock at a shallow depth. It is part of an ongoing four-well drilling programme on the Piedra Sola and Salto concessions and also targets structures that could hold oil and gas within the same stratigraphic sequence or updip of oil shows and weeping core samples. The previously drilled Cerro Padilla E-1 corehole found a 3m possible reservoir with fluorescence confirming a potential oil charge.

The rig is now mobilising to the Cerro de Chaga-1 and Panizza-1 wells in the Salto permit, which lies to the northeast of the Piedra Sola Block. The drilling programme and its geological model were developed from the reinterpretation of a 597 km 2D seismic programme completed in late 2014. Interpretation of additional seismic data, completed in early 2015, revealed an initial 20 conventional structural targets and others at shallow depths. It also confirmed the existence of a deeper sedimentary sequence in the Salto concession. Petrel said in the statement that one of the Salto wells will target a shallow AVO gas anomaly that has a certified prospective P50 resource estimate of 240 Bcfg. Schuepbach is currently seeking partners for the blocks.

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