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Friday, April 17, 2009

Gazprom takes Petroandina bite

04-17-2009 - Upstream OnLine - Russia's Gazprom plans to take a stake of between 20% and 24.5% in an upstream joint venture between Bolivia's state-owned YPFB and Venezuela's PDVSA, according to reports. The announcement was made in a prospectus released for the Russian gas giant's planned $2 billion bond issue. The three companies signed a memorandum in September 2008 providing for the possible entry of the Russian gas giant into Petroandina, in which YPFB now holds a 51% stake and PDVSA holds 49%. Gazprom had not previously revealed how large a stake it was considering taking in Petroandina, which owns licences for the development of 12 blocks in Bolivia. The blocks include Aguarague, Iniguasu and Inau, with the project sittin gon potential reserves of up to 300 billion cubic metres of gas, Gazprom said. In January, YPFB said Petroandina planned to spend $1.17 billion on oil and gas exploration and building gas separation plants in Bolivia over the next few years. Gazprom and France's Total may also start exploring for gas in the Azero Block in Bolivia's south-eastern part of Bolivia, under another deal sealed in September last year. Azero lies next to the Ipati and Aquio blocks, where Total made a major gas find in 2004 and in which Gazprom may get a 20% interest. The equity split in Azero is still being discussed among the partners, but YPFB will have a least a 51% stake in the venture, Total said previously. "We were also offered the opportunity to purchase a 20% interest in the Ipati and Aquio blocks, in which Total has already begun exploration activities," Gazprom said in its bond prospectus. Under a memorandum of understanding between Gazprom and YPFB, Gazprom is also looking to take part in infrastructure projects in Bolivia, including liquefied natural gas production.

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