Repsol to Boost Bolivia Gas Output

BUENOS AIRES (Dow Jones Newswires), Nov. 22, 2011

Repsol expects production from Bolivia's Margarita natural gas fields swelling to 14 million cubic meters per day by 2014, up from 3 million cubic meters this year and an expected 9 million cubic meters by April 2012, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The company is planning to invest $1.2 billion in two phases to expand its Caipipendi operations in the area in partnership with Argentina's Pan American Energy and BG Group, Repsol said.

Bolivia is currently on a drive to attract foreign investment to develop its potentially large natural-gas reserves after struggling to meet export obligations to Argentina and Brazil in recent years. Those exports are the country's primary source of hard currency.

Bolivia nationalized its oil and gas industry in 2006. Following the nationalization, many exploration and production companies cut back operations or pulled up stakes entirely, severely diminishing Bolivia's ability to boost output.

But now, many are rushing to get back into Bolivia under "service provider" contracts for exploration. Once a company strikes gas, a joint venture that is majority-owned by state oil and gas company YPFB is formed, with the private company expected to recover its exploration costs within five to 10 years, according to YPFB.

Bolivia expects private companies to invest more than $1 billion for natural gas and other hydrocarbons exploration in 2012, a new record, YPFB said last month.

The investment will come from companies including subsidiaries of Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, Repsol, France's Total, Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY) subsidiary Vintage Petroleum, Pluspetrol, BG Group, GTLI, YPFB Chaco, YPFB Andina, Matpetrol, and the U.K.'s BG Bolivia y Canadian Energy Exploration, YPFB said.

Bolivia hopes to see $10.7 billion of public- and private-sector investment in its oil and gas industry between 2009 and 2015, YPFB President Carlos Villegas said at a conference in Buenos Aires last month.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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