The department would have an estimated US$3bn budget through 2010.
The new department will be part of Petrobras' international unit and will operate from the company's Rio de Janeiro headquarters.
Within the department there will be special Southern Cone management that will oversee the exploration of natural gas reserves in Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil, the news service reported.
Most of the US$3bn will be used in exploration and production. Argentine operations should receive US$1.4bn through 2007.
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