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Total Makes Natural-Gas Find at Bolivia’s Aquio Property

Total SA, Europe’s third-biggest oil producer, said it found natural gas in the jungle in eastern Bolivia.

Total can’t confirm the size of reserves at its Aquio property, located in the Incahuasi gas field, Total spokeswoman Phenelope Semavoine said today by telephone from Paris.

Bolivia’s news agency ABI reported earlier today that the discovery will boost the Andean country’s gas reserves by 30 percent to 13 trillion cubic feet, citing Carlos Villegas, chief executive officer of state oil company Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos, known as YPFB.

“These reserves will enable Bolivia to meet both its natural-gas export commitments to Brazil and Argentina and domestic demand in the coming years,” Villegas told ABI.

The Incahuasi field, where Total and partner Tecpetrol SA have invested $70 million in the past 16 months drilling down to 6,300 meters (20,800 feet), may produce 18 million cubic meters of gas per day, ABI said. Bolivia currently exports 30 million cubic meters of gas per day of gas to Brazil and 7.7 million cubic meters to Argentina, according to YPFB’s website.

Total may invest $800 million in the development of the field, the company’s Bolivia country manager Jean Daniel Blasco said, according to an e-mailed statement from YPFB.

The Bolivian energy ministry’s press office said they didn’t have any details about the find. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc are Europe’s biggest oil companies.

Total rose 1.3 percent to 42.595 euros in Paris. The stock has gained 7.4 percent this year.

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