President Energy Targets 1 Billion Barrels to Open Up Paraguay

President Energy Plc (PPC), a U.K. exploration company, plans to open an oil province in Paraguay as it targets as many as 1 billion barrels there this year.

Three independent audits of the explorer’s prospects showed an average 1.093 billion barrels of oil equivalent in unrisked resources, the company said today in a statement. It will start drilling the first well in May, targeting 600 million barrels.

Paraguay, the landlocked nation nestled between Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, has no proven oil reserves. Energy companies are stepping up the search for new resources around the world as traditional crude and gas fields age and decline.

Paraguay’s flat landscape, stable politics and favorable tax regime make the country’s prospects attractive, according to President Energy Executive Chairman Peter Levine.

“We have a very significant opportunity to open a new hydrocarbon province onshore,” Levine said in an interview in London, where the company is based. “This is exploration, which always brings risks. But as far as exploration is concerned, this is as good as it gets.”

President Energy rose as much as 14 percent to 47 pence in London trading, the highest price since April 2012. The stock was at 46.5 pence as of 8:44 a.m. local time, valuing the company at 142.5 million pounds ($237 million).

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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