28 October 2016 17:20 GMT
Under the agreement, the two national oil companies will together collect new 2D seismic data covering 360,000 square kilometres, running from the Uruguayan border to the 45 degree latitude line, YPF said.
The area would include potential areas of interest in the Salado, Colorado and Argentina basins, a “high risk, high reward” frontier area ranging in water depths from 500 to 3500 metres,
“For YPF and Statoil, access to new information will be crucial to improve the knowledge of the area’s potential,” YPF said in a statement.
The tie-up was penned at Statoil headquarters in Oslo between YPF chief executive Ricardo Darre and Statoil executive vice president Tim Dodson.
The agreement comes as Statoil has been advancing a major ramp-up of activities in Latin America. The company recently shored up its presence in Brazil, taking over operatorship of the massive Carcara discovery.
It also recently participated in Raya-1, the frontier ultra-deep water wildcat off Uruguay operated by Total. The probe was unsuccessful.
New activity, particularly on the seismic front, could also mark the beginning of new life for Argentina’s offshore.
Since 2012, YPF has made offshore expansion part of its corporate strategy. It has conducted an integrated basin study of the south Atlantic, Argentina and Uruguay.
Argentina has seen some offshore exploration in the past, but has been focused on shallow-water areas and projects such as those from Total in the far south region of Tierra del Fuego.
But it has also watched deep-water exploration success in nearby nations such as Brazil and also off the UK territory of the Falkland Islands.