The state-owned Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) and the private firms that operate in Bolivia will invest this year some US$669 million in the hydrocarbons sector, with 48% focused on exploration to reverse the downward trend in gas production natural.
The figure was announced by the president of YPFB, Armin Dorgathen, during the presentation of the “Hydrocarbons Sector Investment Program 2023” in a meeting with local media and foreign press correspondents in La Paz.
After reviewing some figures obtained in 2022, Dorgathen pointed out that although last year “many goals were met”, there are also “many tasks” for this management, and the one that will be “key” and is pending is to increase the production of natural gas .
The executive maintained that production had an increase between 2009 and 2014 and from that year onwards the decline began, before which in 2022 some actions were already initiated that will continue in this management.
“We are going to change this trend of natural gas production and this is achieved through an investment program that is efficient. What do you have to invest in? In what is going to change the production of natural gas, this is exploration, ”he remarked.
Therefore, 48% of the US$669 million will go to hydrocarbon exploration projects.
The Bolivian oil company explained that it has 32 exploratory projects for traditional areas, such as the south and east of the country, rich in natural gas, but it will also reach others considered “non-traditional”, such as the northern Amazon, where oil will be sought. for the production of fuels.
According to Dorgathen, a second important area for investment will be the exploitation of hydrocarbons to maintain the production curve while new deposits are found, and investment will also be made in the distribution of natural gas, among other areas.
Natural gas was Bolivia’s main export product and the mainstay of the Bolivian economy in the last two decades, with its main markets in Argentina and Brazil.
In recent years, a decrease in production and income from the sale of hydrocarbons has been noted.
The last certification of Bolivian hydrocarbon reserves dates from December 2018 and indicated that the country has 8.79 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas.
Dorgathen announced that a company will be contracted this year to do a new certification.
The president of YPFB specified that in 2022 the average production was 40 million cubic meters of gas per day and stressed that, despite having less volumes, a higher oil income was obtained, which was around US$3,000 million.
The executive attributed this not only to the fluctuations in international oil prices, but above all to the negotiations of new contracts and addendums with Argentina and Brazil to improve Bolivian revenues.
He also highlighted that YPFB’s consolidated operating income from the sale of all the products that the oil company has in 2022 exceeded US$6.3 billion, 27.2% more than the amount achieved in 2021.
Apart from the hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation projects, Dorgathen mentioned other plans of the state company, such as boosting the urea fertilizer industry and the production of biofuels.