Total, Gazprom, YPFB join gas exploration JV in Bolivia

Total, Gazprom, and YPFB signed a cooperation agreement to explore for gas on Azero block, which lies in the Andes foothills in southeastern Bolivia.

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Sept. 19 -- Total SA, OAO Gazprom, and Yacimentos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) have signed a cooperation agreement to explore for natural gas on Azero block, which lies in the Andes foothills in southeastern Bolivia. The group said the 4,764-sq-km block lies next to the Ipati and Aquio blocks, where Total made a major gas find in 2004.

The three companies will operate within the framework of a joint venture company in which Total and Gazprom will own equal shares, Total reported.

This is Total's first venture abroad with Gazprom, spokesman Kevin Church told OGJ. He said the share of both would not be known until negotiations with YPFD are completed, possibly not before 2 months. YPFB must have at least a 50% stake in the venture.

He also said Total would not at this stage confirm the announcement made by YPFB that Gazprom and Total would invest $4.5 billion to explore for gas in that area and build refineries.

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