Bolivia's government owned petroleum corporation YPFB will be announcing next week companies interested in supplying natural gas to Argentina following on the agreement recently signed and extending until 2026.
Companies bids with proposals are scheduled to be opened next Tuesday in Santa Cruz and will have to outline plans to supply 7.7 million cubic meters per day of natural gas in 2007, increasing to 16 million in 2008 and 2009 and to 27.7 million for the following 2010-2026 period, an operation involving 32 to 50 billion US dollars. YPFB has promised to distribute supply volumes among all oil companies interested in the bid based on their production capacity. Argentina and Bolivia signed a long term natural gas supply agreement last October agreeing on a basic price of 5 US dollars per million BTU (British Thermal Units) which as of January first this year is subject to other considerations such as "liquid components (gas oil) at international prices", according to a company release. YPFB estimates that natural gas sales to Argentina until 2026 will represent 32.3 billion US dollars for Bolivia plus 7.9 billion from the sale of liquids associated with the production of gas. This means that in the next twenty years the natural gas deal with Argentina is forecasted to generate in the range of 50 billion US dollars. In related news Petrobras President Jose Sergio Gabrielli said the Brazilian government owned company is studying ways to invest more in a natural gas pipeline between Bolivia and Brazil to increase the amount of natural gas Bolivia exports to Brazil. Brazil currently imports 26 million cubic meters of natural gas from Bolivia per day, but could increase to 30 million cubic meters per day. Gabrielli revealed that by 2011 Brazil will be consuming 121 million cubic meters of natural gas per day, 70 million cm domestic production; 20 million cm imported liquid gas and the rest from Bolivia. However Gabrielli pointed out that Bolivia has all of its production, estimated in 40 million cubic meters per day, engaged with 37 million cm in export contracts and the rest for home consumption. "So to increase the capacity of the Gasbol pipeline we must know where the gas is coming from", underlined Gabrielli. Brazil and Bolivia, following the nationalization of the oil and gas industry last May, have been at odds particularly over the huge investments of Petrobras which virtually developed the gas industry in Bolivia. But according to Mr. Gabrielli, Petrobrás reached an agreement "which guarantees the adequate profitability of our investments" However future investments "need to be analyzed separately".