LA PAZ – Bolivia’s President Evo Morales and the chief executive officer of Spanish energy company Repsol, Antonio Brufau, announced on Wednesday plans for exploration work at a promising new natural gas block in the Andean nation’s southern region.
Morales and Brufau made the announcement at a press conference in the eastern city of Santa Cruz.
Repsol will be the operator of the block, in which Bolivian state energy company YPFB Andina has a 60 percent stake and the Caipipendi consortium made up of Repsol, Shell and Anglo-Argentine PAE has a 40 percent interest, Repsol’s Bolivian unit told EFE.
Repsol has a nearly 50 percent stake in YPFB Andina.
In the press conference, Brufau referred to ongoing investments in the giant Margarita-Huacaya gas field (part of the Caipipendi block), where the consortium last year announced that the operating contract for Caipipendi had been extended by 15 years until 2046.
“We envision in Margarita an investment of $500 million in current production alone,” Brufau said Wednesday.
“With the next exploration that justifies the extension of the concession we’re talking about a minimum investment of $350 million or $500 million,” depending on whether the exploration work is successful.
The consortium announced recently that it was carrying out exploratory drilling at the so-called Boyuy prospect, located in the Caipipendi block.
It said if that work yields good results, exploratory work will begin sooner than originally scheduled at the Iñiguazu block, which is practically adjacent to the area currently under production and is located very near Bolivia’s border with Argentina.
Should exploration at Boyuy prove successful, Iñiguazu could begin to produce gas in 2019 or 2020, Brufau said.