Inspenet, November 24, 2023.
Seismic exploration in the Argentine sea
The public hearing on seismic exploration in three deepwater hydrocarbon areas has begun. This project is led by the company Equinor, which aims to evaluate the potential in the region and is already carrying out research in the Mar del Plata area.
Specifically, it is the environmental impact analysis for the 3D Seismic Record in the Argentine Sea in the Austral Basin Areas AUS 105, AUS 106, where Equinor has associations with YPF and CGC and Malvinas Oeste MLO 121. The investigation will cover an area of approximately 6,700 km 2 within the Seismic Operational Area, which encompasses around 13,215 km 2 .
The location of this area is approximately 25 km from the coast of Río Grande, in the province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands. These blocks were awarded to the Norwegian company during Offshore Round 1, carried out by the national government during the mandate of Mauricio Macri in 2018.
Currently, Equinor operates six areas and is a partner in two others. The hearing, held virtually, is being chaired by the Secretary of Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Innovation, María Cecilia Nicolini, who highlighted in the introduction that during these four years of management of the national government, the environmental agenda has been a priority firm.
In this context, the president of Equinor Argentina, José Frey, stressed that “Exploration in the Argentine Sea will determine if the resources are found. We have the experience, the will and the ability to carry out this project safely“.
Next, José Echeveste, Health, Safety and Sustainability Manager of Equinor Argentina, took the floor and provided technical details about future seismic exploration. Echeveste highlighted the participation of the seismic vessel called BGP Prospector, a considerable size vessel that will house about 66 people and will be supported by two auxiliary vessels.
Equinor’s plan is to start the project in January 2024, with an estimated duration of five months and is expected to conclude at the end of May 2024, as expressed by Echeveste. Subsequently, Mariano Miculicich, Environment Director of Serman SA, presented the Environmental Impact Study, highlighting constant communication with various social actors involved since 2020.
” The protection measures for marine fauna are very demanding ,” he stressed and added that ” the mitigated impacts were low or very low in all the operations included in the project, therefore, it is environmentally viable to be carried out .”
Then the YPF Exploration manager, Hernán Maretto, spoke, who expressed that offshore production volumes equal to or greater than Vaca Muerta can be achieved. “It will allow more energy to be provided to more people and reduce the inequality gap“he highlighted.”The Argentine offshore is an opportunity to explore projects with high economic and social impact“he indicated.
During the presentation of the project, the last speaker was Martín Cevallos, Vice President of Exploration and Development of CGC. In his speech, he noted that CGC is interested in this type of project because “production on the coast off Argentina constitutes 15% of the gas we consume. Argentina depends significantly on offshore operations for its supply.”
The hearing continues with a list of 251 speakers. To follow it, the live broadcast is available on the YouTube channel of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.
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