Gazprom Strikes Bolivia Gas Deal

Gazprom said Tuesday that it had signed an accord to explore for gas in Bolivia, as the South American country looks to foreign companies to help build up the energy industry.

The agreement with state-owned oil company YPF Bolivianos covers three southern fields, including the Sunchal block, Gazprom said in a statement.

Gazprom concluded a preliminary agreement with Bolivia last year, as President Evo Morales's government seeks to develop its gas reserves. The country needs investment of $3 billion to increase gas production and supply to Argentina, the Bolivian hydrocarbons chamber said in a report last year.

Stanislav Tsygankov, Gazprom director of foreign relations, signed the accord with YPFB president Santos Ramirez in the presence of Morales, the statement said. Gazprom said it had also held talks with Repsol, Argentina's Tecpetrol and Bolivia's Empresa Electrica Guaracachi about possible cooperation.