LA PAZ, Bolivia, May 18 (UPI) -- The head of a Bolivian energy company said he might sign a deal that would allow Russian gas company Gazprom to explore for hydrocarbons in the country.
Carlos Villegas, chief executive officer of Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos, told Bloomberg News the country would award its first oil and natural gas exploration contracts since 2006.
Russian gas company Gazprom would join Total and other regional companies in developing the Aquio and Ipati oil blocks in eastern Bolivia, he suggested.
"We are now secure that the investment plan for development of Ipati and Aquio will be a reality," he told the news agency.
Gazprom last year said it could take a 20 percent stake in natural gas projects in Bolivia under the terms of a September deal with French energy company Total for the two blocks in Bolivia.
Proven natural gas reserves in Bolivia are around 53 trillion cubic feet, the Russian energy company said.
Bolivia, said Gazprom officials last year, is the third-largest gas producer in Latin America.