LA PAZ – Brazilian state-controlled energy giant Petrobras and the Argentine unit of Spain’s Repsol-YPF signed agreements Wednesday with Bolivian state energy firm YPFB to explore six areas of Bolivia’s natural gas-rich southern region.
Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos President Carlos Villegas signed separate agreements with the head of Petrobras Bolivia, Claudio Castejon, and YPF’s director of new areas, Alejandro Jotayan, YPFB said in a statement.
The Argentine firm will carry out exploration work in the Capiguazuti, Rio Salado and Yuchan areas, while Petrobras will evaluate the “hydrocarbon potential” of the Astillero, Sunchal and San Telmo areas.
Both companies will assume “all investment costs and other expenses derived from the execution of the agreements” and have six to 12 months to deliver the results of their studies, the statement said.
“For us, YPF’s arrival in Argentina and Petrobras’ commitment to continue investing in Bolivia is significant and important. We hope (studies in) the areas being handed over ... have favorable results,” Villegas was quoted as saying.
For his part, Jotayan said the agreement with Bolivia “is a milestone” for YPF, which once again is “internationalizing” its operations.
Bolivian President Evo Morales’ administration has instructed energy officials to emphasize natural gas exploration to reduce shortfalls in the output of the fuel, but also to increase gas reserves.
According to an unofficial report, which the government has not denied, Bolivia’s current natural gas reserves amount to roughly 8.3 trillion cubic feet, or about one-third of the 26.7 trillion cubic feet of reserves from a previous estimate.
Morales’ government has asked U.S. energy consulting firm Ryder Scott, whose audit produced the lower figure, to revise its gas reserves estimate.
Brazil and Argentina are the two main markets for Bolivian natural gas. EFE