Echo Energy Plc's (LON:ECHO) status as an Argentina and Bolivia-focused firm enabled it to acquire a 50% working interest in four onshore blocks in Argentina at the start of the year, said Fionia MacAulay, chief executive.
Echo acquired a 50% working interest in Fraccion C, Fraccion D, Laguna De Los Capones and the exploration permit at Tapi Aike.
Work has already started on a three-well workover programme at Fraccion D, while a drill rig has been secured for a four well back-to-back exploration campaign in Fracción C and Laguna De Los Capones in May.
Tenders for a 2,000 km seismic acquisition campaign across Tapi Aike and Fracción C and D have also been issued.
In Bolivia, Echo has a joint evaluation agreement with Pluspetrol on the Huayco block and a technical evaluation agreement with Pluspetrol and YPFB over the Rio Salado block.
Development on these two blocks remains dependent on commercial terms being agreed.
MacAulay added: “Echo ended the year with having secured a transformation deal in Argentina with CGC and a strong balance sheet consisting of £19.7m of cash, sufficient to complete the first phase of the exploration and appraisal programme in Argentina.
Losses for 2017 were £7.4mln. Since the year-end Echo has raised a further £6.4mln through a share issue at 17.5p.