LA PAZ – Bolivian oil company YPFB Andina, in which Spain’s Repsol has a 48.92 percent stake, is investing $40 million to explore for oil in the Sararenda mountain range in eastern Bolivia, state-owned oil company YPFB said Monday.
Exploration began on Sunday with 2D seismic field studies, which are expected to take 218 days, YPFB said in a statement.
The project is in the eastern region of Santa Cruz and considered one of the largest exploration efforts undertaken by Bolivia’s oil industry.
Crews will explore for oil and gas in a 460-kilometer (285-mile) area with 13 seismic lines, attempting to reduce the risk associated with future drilling operations, YPFB CEO Guillermo Acha said.
The goal is to confirm estimates that the area holds 0.80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas at a depth of 6,000 meters (19,672 feet), YPFB said.
President Evo Morales traveled on Sunday to Camiri, a town in the Sararenda area, and discussed YPFB’s plans for seismic studies in the region.
The region is considered one of the richest in Bolivia in terms of oil and gas reserves, even though YPFB Andina drilled a more than 6,000-meter (19,672-foot) well in 2012 as part of the $56 million Sararenda X1 project that came up dry, press reports at the time said.
YPFB Andina, which is owned by the Bolivian government and Repsol, was created following Morales’s nationalization of the oil industry in 2006.