Petrobras Seeks Bolivia Natural Gas Field Stake

Source: Reuters 12/14/2010, Location: South America

Brazilian state oil company Petrobras is in talks with France's Total to buy a stake in the Bolivian natural gas field Itau, a Petrobras official said.

The move comes despite the 2006 energy nationalization that gave the Bolivian government control over Petrobras assets, including a key natural gas field and two refineries, sparking tension between the two countries.

Developing that area would give Petrobras synergies with the nearby San Alberto field, where it is already a stakeholder, said Carlos Alberto Oliveira, an executive with the company's international division.

"The idea is to develop (Itau) together with the San Alberto field," said Oliveira during a press conference, adding that Bolivia's legislature would have to approve the transaction.

He said the deal would help ensure sufficient gas supplies in Brazil, which has in recent years depended on Bolivian imports for about half its natural gas needs. He declined to give a value for the purchase, saying the process was ongoing.

Bolivian state-run energy company YPFB said in September it had signed a deal with local subsidiaries of Total and BG Group Plc to develop Itau.

The field, located in Bolivia's southern Tarija region, was as of September slated to start producing 1.5 million cubic meters of natural gas a day in January 2011. The companies plan to gradually increase output to 5 million cubic meters by 2015.

Petrobras last year agreed to pay tens of millions of dollars more per year for imported Bolivian natural gas following a price dispute that dragged on for years.


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Related Categories: Accounting, Statistics  Acquisitions and Divestitures  Asset Portfolio Management  Economics/Financial Analysis  General  Industrial Development  Insurance  Investment  Mergers and Acquisitions  Risk Management 

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