LA PAZ – President Evo Morales’ government plans to assign new exploration areas to Brazilian state-controlled energy giant Petrobras in a bid to increase natural gas production, the media reported Thursday.
Hydrocarbons Minister Luis Fernando Vincenti said Petrobras asked Bolivian state energy company YPFB for those areas, adding that they will be chosen from among 17 new blocks where YPFB currently is carrying out gas prospecting.
“We’re working to define 17 new blocks (with the goal of) increasing exploration activity and production volumes, but those negotiations must be carried out from a technical standpoint and will take time,” he said.
The possibility of increasing the Brazilian company’s exploration activity in Bolivia was raised during a visit in April to La Paz by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s foreign policy adviser, Marco Aurelio Garcia.
Petrobras operates the San Alberto and San Antonio fields in the southern province of Tarija, where most of the gas shipped to Brazil originates, as well as the Ingre block in the eastern province of Santa Cruz, Monteagudo in the southeastern province of Chuquisaca and Rio Hondo in the western province of La Paz.
Petrobras Bolivia and Petrobras Energia, the Brazilian conglomerate’s Argentina-based subsidiary, have pledged to invest $204 million and $7 million, respectively, this year in Bolivia. EFE