Bolivia's natural gas reserves currently suffice to maintain production through 2023, with efforts going ahead to extend production beyond that, Carlos Villegas, president of state-owned YPFB, said in Friday's edition of government newspaper Cambio.
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Current reserves are 11.2 Tcf, he added.
Villegas spoke after former hydrocarbons minister Alvaro Rios, now an industry consultant, said in a study commissioned for an opposition political organization that Bolivia would run out of natural gas in 2017.
As of the end of 2012, energy consultancy Ryder Scott certified that Bolivia had 9.94 Tcf of proven, 3.71 Tcf of probable, and 6.25 Tcf as possible reserves.
The land-locked South American country exports natural gas to neighboring Argentina and Brazil. Reserves have grown through exploration in the Sabalo and Margarita gas fields, Villegas said.
YPFB plans to invest around $16 billion in exploration through 2025, he added, estimating that in 52 areas set aside for exploration, it will find an additional 42.7 Tcf.
It will also seek certification of reserves in 2014, during which 16 exploratory wells will be dug by YPFB and other companies, including Petrobras, Villegas said.
Current output is 59 million cubic meters/d, due to rise to 70 million cu m/d by the end of this year, Villegas added.