LA PAZ – A five-company consortium led by Spain’s Repsol plans to invest $900 million to explore and develop a new natural gas block in southern Bolivia known as Iñiguazu.
The president of Bolivian energy company YPFB, Oscar Barriga, signed the investment commitment with representatives of the consortium, which also includes Royal Dutch Shell, Argentina’s Pan American Energy (PAE) and two YPFB units.
Bolivian President Evo Morales, members of his Cabinet and Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau attended the signing ceremony Tuesday in the eastern city of Santa Cruz.
Morales said that if the exploration stage is successful the consortium is expected to invest $900 million and produce 6.5 million cubic meters (229 million cubic feet) of natural gas per day at Iñiguazu.
The block, which is located in the southern province of Tarija and covers a 644-sq.-kilometer (248-sq.-mile) area, has 3 trillion cubic feet of potential natural gas reserves and is expected to provide the government with $6 billion in revenue in the coming years, Morales said.
Repsol will be the operator, according to Brufau, who said the consortium will leverage the experience gained elsewhere in Bolivia, particularly in the Caipipendi block.
Exploration work at Iñiguazu will be carried out at an area adjacent to the Margarita-Huacaya natural gas field, which is part of Caipipendi and Bolivia’s largest.
The Caipipendi consortium is made up of Repsol (37.5 percent), Shell (37.5 percent) and PAE (25 percent).
Brufau also hailed the incorporation of the YPFB units into the new consortium, saying a group had been formed that is the “creme de la creme” in Bolivia’s hydrocarbons sector.
Repsol and Shell each have a 15 percent stake in the Iñiguazu consortium, while PAE has a 10 percent interest, YPFB Andina has 46.5 percent and YPFB Chaco has 13.4 percent, the Spanish company said in a statement.
“This group, these five companies, have a singular and absolute commitment, and we’re convinced that with a bit of luck – and if the geology doesn’t deceive us – we can have another project like Caipipendi, which has delivered so much success to this country,” Brufau said.