LA PAZ – Repsol does not consider exploring for oil and gas in Bolivia’s nature parks a priority, but the Spanish oil company is focusing on Caipipendi, an area in the southeast where it has had success, the energy company’s head of Bolivian operations, Diego Diaz Baldasso, told EFE.
Natural areas “are not on our work horizon as a priority,” Diaz said in response to a question about whether Repsol wanted to explore in protected natural areas or national parks.
Earlier this year, the government authorized oil and gas exploration by all energy companies in natural areas, a move strongly opposed by environmentalists and Indian leaders.
President Evo Morales has defended his position, arguing that Bolivia’s economic interests in exploring for natural resources must come first.
“Our goal today is to optimize our capacity to process what we’ve already developed and in the medium term undertake exploration activities in the north and south of the Caipipendi Contract Area, where we are sure there’s great potential,” the Repsol executive said.
Repsol has a concession in Tuichi, an area in the northwestern Madidi park, and as a partner with state-owned YPFB Andina in Amboro, an area in the east, but the two operations are on hold due to the environmental status of these areas.
The 43-year-old Diaz, who assumed his post on Aug. 20, said he would continue working “with the main goal of consolidating Repsol-Bolivia as a partner of the Bolivian state and ... the largest private company in the hydrocarbons sector.”
Repsol produces more than 18 million cubic meters per day of natural gas, or nearly one-third of Bolivia’s total output, at Caipipendi, accounting for an “important part” of YPFB-Andina’s energy production, Diaz said.
Bolivia, according to an official 2014 certification report, has proven natural gas reserves of 10.45 trillion cubic meters.
The Andean nation’s two main markets for the fuel are Brazil and Argentina.
Repsol plans to invest $175 million in Bolivia this year, with $50 million going into Caipipendi’s Margarita and Huacaya fields; $15 million into the Mamore area in the central part of the country; and $110 million being invested via YPFB-Andina.
Repsol and its partners in Caipipendi – BG and Pan American Energy – plan to invest a total of $135 million in the area this year, Diaz said.