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Bolivia talks up exploration success



By Argus

Petroleumworld 04 26 2019

Revived upstream exploration could boost Bolivia's natural gas reserves, the country's hydrocarbons minister Luis Alberto Sanchez says.

"Results from the first quarter were very promising. Reserves will increase from 10.7 trillion ft³ [303bn m³] when we certify at the end of the year," he says.

The government's 2019 upstream plan foresees $2.5bn in investment encompassing 26 exploration wells to be drilled at 23 blocks. Foreign companies have been prominent in recent exploration successes, including Spain's Repsol at the Boyuy-X2 well in Tarija department, where it has invested $100mn.

Elsewhere in Tarija, US firm Occidental's Vintage Petroleum subsidiary has made a gas discovery at the Chaco Este-X1 well, with production estimates of 20mn m³/d, and state-owned YPFB is ramping up work at its Caigua 15-D well. Sanchez expects important discoveries by Shell at its Huacareta block and by a joint venture of Total and Russia's Gazprom at the Azero block, as well as from YPFB's exploration in the Madre de Dios block near the Peruvian border.

Huacareta could hold up to 13 trillion ft³, while initial estimates for Azero are close to 6 trillion ft³, Sanchez says. But the game-changer for Bolivia could be Madre de Dios, which is in the same geological formation as the blocks that form Peru's Camisea project. "If the information we have is correct, we are talking about a huge quantity of gas that could be as high as 30 trillion ft³," Sanchez says.

Bolivia will increase output this year by around 6mn m³/d from 60m m³/d, allowing it to meet export commitments to Argentina and Brazil, as well as expanding internal demand, which rose to 15mn m³/d at the start of this year.




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