Petrobras Plans Exploration Activities Offshore Argentina

Petrobras is planning to explore for oil and gas offshore the southern coast of Argentina in an effort to increase its reserves in that country. The region, known as the Austral basin, is virtually untouched and has only been explored by Total in the past, the head of the company's Argentine unit said.

"We have the technology and the appetite to advance in this," said Alberto Guimaraes, president of Petrobras Energia Participaciones S.A., formerly known as Perez Companc.

Petrobras has been in Argentina for the past ten years. It only gained strength there when it bought the nation's top energy conglomerate Perez Companc last year.

Exploration of the Austral basin would be carried out by Petrobras Energia, which also has operations in Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador.

The project would be part of the Petrobras' efforts to maintain current production at 170,000 barrels of oil a day and possibly double this volume by 2007, Guimaraes said.