Geologists Believe Uruguayan Government is “Pumping Up” Oil Discoveries

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The president of the Uruguayan Geological Society, Claudio Gaucher, said that the Government of that country still “has nothing to celebrate” (Flickr).


The Uruguayan government announced the discovery of the first “oil system” in its territory, which it described as an unprecedented discovery in the history of that country. The Executive confirmed the existence of hydrocarbons in an exploratory operated by the US company Schuepnach Energy.

As detailed by the state oil company Ancap, a “modest amount of surface oil” was recovered from the oil deposit known as Cerro Padilla X-1, after drilling that took place at a depth of between 794 and 796 meters.

On October 20, the government had reported the discovery of hydrocarbons, but it was necessary to confirm and study the “flow of hydrocarbons on the surface”.

“There is a bedrock that the oil is derived from. There is also a trap to catch it, and a seal that forms a sort of roof [all of these conditions] contain the reservoir of millions of years,” according to the statement.

The Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining, as well as the state oil company and the US company, all confirmed the maturity of the oil system. “We consider it a great sucess to have found oil for the first time in Uruguay.”

The Minister of Industry, Carolina Cosse, said that the oil reservoir is “mature”, since it carried out the necessary processes over millions of years to become hydrocarbons.

Cosse encourages everyone involved to “remain prudent” because there are still “many more studies” to be carried out.



The studies carried out are yet to confirm whether or not the discovered oil is marketable. “The company is evaluating the steps to take in order to determine the commercial application [of the oil]”.

On the other hand there are some geologists who believe this is not really good news, or that it is “more of the same”.

The president of the Uruguayan Geology Society, Claudio Gaucher, told the local newspaper El Observador that the government of that country still “has nothing to celebrate”. He feels that the “only news” in the statement is that the well did not pump hydrocarbons.

“When they say that a ‘modest amount of oil’ has been recovered, what really means is that nothing came out- it’s bad news dressed up in a different way” he said.

Gaucher explained that a modest amount can mean anything from a liter of substance to a few barrels, but in no case would it be marketable volumes.

“The government now announces that there is a a bedrock as a source, but we have known that for two weeks. If they found hydrocarbons, it is because there is a mother rock generating them,” he added. The geologist explained that if the company really believes there is oil in the Cerro Padilla X-1 well, the next step is to continue drilling the area.

The geologist Leda Sáncez agrees with Gaucher: “The news does not make sense because it has already occurred in previous years…If I find a hydrocarbon droplet, it means I already have an oil system. That is to say, I have a generating mother rock. Now, whether or not it is reliable and exploitable is another thing altogether” he said.

It should be noted that Shuepbach Energy Uruguay signed a contract with the Ancap oil company in 2012, which granted it “exploration and exploitation on the mainland of hydrocarbons” in four wells in the country.

Sources: El País, El Observador, Ecos

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