LA PAZ – The Bolivian subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell initiated drilling on Monday at a site in the Andean nation that is thought to hold 1.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the government said.
The $109 million that Shell Bolivia committed to the project includes funding for projects to aid communities in the vicinity of the Jaguar X6 well in the southern province of Chuquisaca, Bolivian state oil company YPFB said in a statement.
Shell’s goal is to begin production in December, according to Bolivian President Evo Morales, who was present for the start of drilling.
The gas deposit was discovered in 2016 at a depth of 4,429 m (14,551 ft) and construction of the drilling infrastructure got under way last year with a crew of 382 people, 70 percent of them hired locally, YPFB said.
Jaguar X6 is Shell’s first venture in the Huacareta bloc, which extends over parts of Chuquisaca and neighboring Tarija province.
Natural gas is Bolivia’s main export and Bolivian gas has become vital to the economies of Argentina and Brazil.