YPFB-Andina awarded exploration rights in Santa Cruz areas

Dec 29, 2014 12:00 AM

Bolivia's oil company YPFB-Andina, in which Spain’s Repsol has a 48.92 percent stake, won exploration rights in two areas in the eastern Bolivian region of Santa Cruz, state-owned energy company YPFB said. YPFB-Andina will explore for oil and natural gas in the Carohuaicho 8B area, which covers 98,750 hectares (243,827 acres), and the Oriental area, which sprawls over 96,875 hectares (239,197 acres), YPFB, which has majority control over YPFB-Andina, said in a statement.

YPFB-Chaco, another YPFB unit, won the rights to a third area, Carohuaicho 8A, and will also participate in the exploration work in the two areas. Carohuaicho 8A, which covers 100,000 hectares (246,913 acres), is also in Santa Cruz.

The “oil services contracts for exploration and production in these areas” were signed last week, the state-owned oil company said. The chances of successfully finding hydrocarbons in the three areas are estimated at 20 percent, YPFB said. YPFB hired France’s Beicip-Franlab earlier this month to perform technical studies aimed at improving the success rate of oil exploration projects.

YPFB and private energy companies plan to invest 12.08 billion US dollars over the next five years to develop Bolivia’s oil and gas resources. Some $9.1 billion has been invested in the sector since 2006, when President Evo Morales nationalized the oil industry. About a dozen foreign oil companies, including Spain’s Repsol, Brazilian oil giant Petrobras and France’s Total, operate in Bolivia under government supervision.

Bolivia’s exports between January and November amounted to $11.94 billion, a 6.3 percent increase over the same period in 2013, the National Statistics Institute reported. Imports between January and November totaled $9.54 billion, a 14.1 percent increase from last year. Sales of natural gas, which account for almost half of Bolivian exports, decreased 1.1 percent to $5.54 billion. Brazil and Argentina are the largest buyers of Bolivian natural gas.

Exports of gold ore increased 330.4 percent, from $296.8 million to $1.27 billion, while zinc exports increased 29.1 percent, from $692.6 million to $894.1 million.

Bolivia also increased its foreign sales of soy products, with a 7.5 percent hike from $874.5 million to $940.2 million, while exports of quinoa increased 39.5 percent, from $132.2 million to $184.4 million, the report said.

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