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Gazprom, Total sign gas deal with Bolivian firm

Gazprom and Total have signed a memorandum with Bolivian company YPFB on gas exploration and extraction, and the possible creation of a joint venture in Bolivia, the Russian energy giant said Friday.

The signing took place during a visit by a Gazprom delegation to the Latin American country, which started Thursday. “The talks resulted in the signing ... of a trilateral memorandum which foresees the joint assessment of the Acero block and marks another step forward to the creation of a new joint venture to produce hydrocarbons in Bolivia,” Gazprom said in a news release.

Bolivia is second in Latin America after Venezuela in terms of natural gas reserves (1.5 trillion cubic meters) and has a high gas-bearing potential. Gazprom and YPFB signed a memorandum of understanding in February 2007 for prospecting and infrastructure projects as well as the training of staff.

The blocks selected by Gazprom experts - Sunchal, Acero and Carohuaicho - are located in southeastern Bolivia within the gas-bearing Subandino Sur basin. Experts estimate they contain up to 300 billion cubic meters of gas. (