LA PAZ – A joint venture of Bolivian state-owned energy firm YPFB and Venezuelan counterpart PDVSA has come up empty in its search for crude and natural gas in drilling at the Lliquimuni block, a project that Bolivian President Evo Morales has said is highly promising.
YPFB CEO Guillermo Acha confirmed in a statement Tuesday that the Lliquimuni C X-1 well at the Lliquimuni block in the western Bolivian province of La Paz had failed to yield commercially viable quantities of hydrocarbons.
The YPFB Petroandina joint venture, in which YPFB has a majority 60 percent stake and PDVSA the remaining 40 percent interest, drilled that well to a depth of 4,562 meters (14,960 feet), 1,000 meters more than initially scheduled.
The work conducted for more than a year at Lliquimuni, however, yielded results of “great technical value because they verify the existence of an active petroleum system in the block,” Acha said, adding that new studies will be conducted and another well could be drilled in the future.
Morales has repeatedly expressed optimism about exploratory work in that remote area, saying he hoped sufficient crude would be discovered to spur the development of the La Paz region.
Those expectations were fueled by initial studies in 2011 indicating the block might hold around 50 million barrels of crude and 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
YPFB Petroandina, a joint venture established in 2007 by close allies Bolivia and Venezuela, recognizes investment in Lliquimuni through 2013 of $151 million, although the press on Tuesday reported significantly higher investment outlays in that block.
The JV says on its Web site that it also carried out exploration work in the southern Bolivian region of Tarija between September 2013 and September 2014, drilling the Timboy X2 well to a depth of 3,970 meters.
Although Tarija is rich in natural gas, the Timboy X2 well also failed to yield commercially viable quantities of oil and natural gas, Hydrocarbons Minister Luis Alberto Sanchez told the Nuevo Sur daily in March 2015.
Bolivia’s government assigned YPFB Petroandina a dozen blocks in the Subandino Norte and Subandino Sur basins when the joint venture was formed, but most are no longer being referred to as potential targets for exploration.