MONTEVIDEO, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Uruguay, a country that has traditionally relied on oil and gas imports to satisfy its energy need, has for the first time discovered loose hydrocarbon, a key ingredient of crude oil, in the northwestern part of the country.
The result of geological studies on the Salto state allows for "a certain degree of optimism" on the "potential to generate oil," Raul Sendic, president of state-owned oil company ANCAP, told local El Pais daily in an interview.
However, the results only indicate "minimum volumes" of crude oil that are not economically viable for "extraction or commercialization," Sendic said.
"We are not talking about a commercial finding, but about a scientific confirmation," he said.
The next step calls for a first-ever seismic study to create a radiograph of the Uruguayan soil to confirm whether the country has substantial oil and gas reserves.
The South American country does not have its own hydrocarbon reserves and imports all of consumed crude oil and gas. It has encouraged domestic and foreign oil companies to step up exploring efforts in the country in recent years, hoping to have domestic production in the future.
In 2012, the Uruguayan government granted exploitation rights to foreign companies to explore hydrocarbon in central and northern Uruguay.Currently, Brazil's oil giant Petrobras and Argentina's Treasury Petroleum Fields are exploiting two maritime blocks in Uruguay.