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News // Oil and gas worldwide

Gazprom Cosiders Entry in Petroandina, Bolivia-Venezuela Joint Venture

10 February 2009 , 12:55Ksenia Kochneva1619
Gazprom, which sent a delegation to Bolivia for the talks, did not say how a large a stake it is considering taking in Petroandina.

The potential deal is part of a memorandum of understanding the three companies signed in September 2008. YPFB now holds a 51% stake in Petroandina, with PDVSA holding 49%.

Gazprom and YPFB also signed an agreement Friday to jointly draft a plan for Bolivian gas sector development until 2030, Gazprom said following a visit by its head of foreign operations, Stanislav Tsygankov, to Bolivia this week.

The talks took place ahead of a planned visit by Bolivian President Evo Morales to Moscow this month, when the two countries are expected to sign energy-sector deals.

YPFB said in January the joint venture planned to spend $1.17 billion on oil and gas exploration and building gas separation plants in Bolivia over the next few years. Petroandina also planned to search for oil and gas at four blocks in the south of Bolivia.

Gazprom is also cooperating with France's Total to consider exploration for gas at the Azero block in the southeastern part of Bolivia, under a deal inked in September 2008. Located in a gas-rich province in the Andes foothills, Azero lies next to the Ipati and Aquio blocks, where Total made a major natural gas find in 2004.

The equity participation in the block is still being discussed among the partners, but YPFB will have a least a 51% stake in the venture, Total said previously. Bolivia has the third-largest gas reserves in Latin America and is the main gas supplier to Brazil and Argentina.

Gazprom estimates Bolivia's proved gas reserves at about 770 billion cubic meters. Bolivian energy minister Saul Avalos said in December he hoped Gazprom would help the country conduct a new certification of reserves.

Bolivia's reserves were last certified three years ago, he said. Gazprom could also participate in the construction of a gas pipeline between Bolivia and Argentina, which would allow Bolivia to export 27.7 million cubic meters/day to its southern neighbor by 2014, Avalos said at the time.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also said in December that Russia and Argentina may cooperate in the construction of the gas pipeline from Bolivia.

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