According to local media, citing Bolivia's Minister of Hydrocarbons and Energy, Luis Alberto Sanchez, over the past two years, the country has increased its natural gas reserves by 3 trillion cubic feet (80 billion m3) from 10.45 trillion cubic feet (297 billion m3) in December 2013 to 13.45 trillion cubic feet (over 380 billion m3) as of December of this year.
According to the Minister, preliminary reserve estimates were based on a number of oil and gas exploration sites located in the south of Bolivia, in the departments of Santa Cruz, Tarija and Chuquisaca. At the same time, Minister Sanchez noted that the quantitative estimate of gas reserves had yet to be officially certified, as was done in December 2013 by the Canadian company GLJ Petroleum Consultants. At that time, in addition to gas reserves, oil reserves were estimated at 211.4 million barrels (29.6 million tonnes).
In addition, Bolivia's energy minister said that the government had identified a total of 86 exploration projects set to move forward at 63 prospective sites, with total reserves tentatively estimated at 30 trillion cubic feet (850 billion m3).
According to Sanchez, the government is planning to increase its natural gas reserves by 11 trillion cubic feet (more than 310 billion m3) by 2020. To this end, the Bolivian National Oil and Gas Company Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) intends to invest around $5 billion in exploration by 2021.
Luis Alberto Sanchez also said that a number of foreign oil companies have shown interest in the development of Bolivia’s mineral resources, including Brazil's Petrobras, Argentina's YPF, and the Anglo-Dutch’ Royal Dutch Shell.
In November, during an official visit to a number of European countries, Bolivian President Evo Morales reached an agreement with France's Total and Britain's British Gas Group on investments of up to $1 billion over the next three years in the exploration and development of hydrocarbon deposits in Bolivia.
PJSC Gazprom has been collaborating with YPFB under the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the companies in 2007. Gazprom’s interests in the Bolivian projects are represented by Gazprom International, Gazprom's sole specialised company for the implementation of international upstream projects.
Gazprom International is involved in the development of the Incahuasi field in the Ipati and Aquio licence blocks, and it conducts exploration activities in association with Total EP Bolivie in the Azero block of the country's Central Sub-Andean oil and gas basin.
Bolivia ranks third among South American countries in the production of hydrocarbons. Annual production exceeds 20 billion m3 of natural gas, much of which is supplied to Brazil and Argentina.