what are exploration blocks in regard to oil drilling?

Im trying to write an essay on oil drilling in florida and keep coming across the term exploration block.
Here’s an example: Iraq plans to auction 12 "exploration blocks", believed to contain mostly gas reserves, in November as part of the country’s efforts to capture natural gas for electricity generation, the country’s oil minister said Tuesday.

2 Responses to “what are exploration blocks in regard to oil drilling?”

  1. carbonates Says:

    Exploration blocks are simply geographic areas that are offered for bidding by various countries or governments to oil companies or anyone else who wants to bid on the right to explore that specific block.

    Here is an example in the form of a map of exploration blocks offered offshore Suriname:
    http://www.rigzone.com/news/image_detail.asp?img_id=1018

    This terminology is typically used offshore or in countries where the government owns the mineral rights. In the United States most mineral rights are owned by private landowners, so the mineral rights are negotiated privately between property owners and oil and gas companies. Offshore US the Federal and State government own the mineral rights. In Iraq, the government owns the mineral rights so they are dividing it up into "blocks" to auction off the rights to drill and produce the oil. The terms of those offerings can be quite complicated, with requirements to drill a certain number of wells in a certain time period, and agreements on how much is paid to the government based on the quantity of oil found, with wide variation from country to country.

    Here is some basic information on offshore Florida:
    http://www.gomr.boemre.gov/homepg/offshore/egom/eastern.html

  2. Michael Says:

    From what I understand, petroleum companies are not allowed to do more than a certain amount of exploratory drilling in a region. This means that the countries must first give them the rights to explore. These rights to drill are sold or auctioned in blocks.