Editorial / 02 Jun 2024

Uruguay poised for offshore opportunities

Uruguay is emerging as an unexpected offshore energy pioneer.

Recent developments led to Uruguay being touted as the next leading hub for both oil and gas drilling projects, as well as offshore renewables, that could have a significant impact on investment opportunities in the region.

The discovery of millions of barrels of oil across the Atlantic, off the coast of Namibia, in 2022 led many to realise Uruguay was also a potential hotbed for fossil fuels. The two countries were once connected millions of years ago, so experts deduce they have the same geographical characteristics and therefore could be home to similar oil and gas reserves.

All 120 km2 of Uruguay’s offshore area is now being explored.

As Eytan Uliel, CEO of Challenger Energy, one of the companies involved in that exploration, points out: “In less than 18 months Uruguay went from being unheard of in the oil and gas industry to being 100% licensed by some of the biggest energy companies in the world.”

The rise of renewables
The region’s seabed is also ideal for both floating and fixed offshore wind farms, with data from the World Bank suggesting it could generate 275GW of energy from offshore wind. As such, Uruguay is seizing the opportunity to build wind farms that will be used to create green hydrogen as part of its ‘H2U Offshore’ plan. This project is key as the resulting green hydrogen is being earmarked for the transportation sector.

The country now generates more than 98% of its electricity from renewable sources, including hydropower, wind, solar and biomass, enabling this small South American country to almost completely transition to carbon-free status and leading many to hail it as a model for national energy transition.

New territory

Mapa exploratorio
Map source: Administración Nacional de Combustibles, Alcoholes y Portland (ANCAP), Uruguay’s National Administration of Fuels, Alcohols and Portland.

Whilst the resurgence of the offshore energy sector is being seen worldwide, particularly post-Covid, the development of offshore oil and gas and wind farms is new territory for Uruguay.

“Several state and private companies have begun work in this developing energy sector,” says Erica Gomez, General Manager of GAC Uruguay.

“We are eager to play a part in such future projects. Although it is relatively early days still in the exploration phase, if and when offshore drilling begins, GAC Uruguay is ideally placed to support with our range of shipping, logistics and offshore support services drawing on the global experience and resources of the wider GAC Group.

Erica Gomez Feb24

“We will draw on our experience in dealing with seismic vessels and previous exploration and production projects, as well as information from our fellow GAC leaders in other major offshore hotspots including Europe, Asia and the Middle East, to show our credentials to support projects with tight margins and strict schedules.”

GAC Uruguay is already training its staff in the particular demands of exploration, production and energy transition to ensure they have what it takes for the anticipated new business.

Integrated portfolio
Offshore projects like wind farms require extensive portside support to enable key components like blades and cabling to be shipped, stored and constructed onshore before being transported to sea.


GAC Uruguay is already seeing increased demand and its intregrated portfolio of shipping, logistics and marine services will enable it to offer a one-stop shop, alongside a knowledgeable and effective team of maritime experts, to support projects as they come online.

Uruguay continues to be a leading example of the energy transition and the latest offshore developments could offer a significant opportunity for many in the shipping and logistics sector.

“The prospects are exciting,” says Erica. “Rest assured, GAC Uruguay will be at hand to support such projects contributing knowledge and leading services, alongside our commitment to professionalism and excellence in everything that we do.”

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