Brazil's government-controlled oil multinational Petrobras will be investing US$ 2.4 billion in hydrocarbons exploration and exploitation in neighboring Argentina in the next four years, announced Petrobras Argentina's CEO Décio Oddone.
Over breakfast with journalists Oddone also said that 15 exploratory wells are planned in continental areas of the Santa Cruz, Neuquen and Salta provinces.
He also anticipated the company would invest US$ 80 million in increasing the capacity of its electricity generating plan Genelba in 80 MW.
"Following the exchange of assets with Repsol-YPF in 2001 and the purchase of Perez Companc assets in 2002, Petrobras Energy has acquired a clearly exploratory profile in Argentina and has invested in that area over US$ 1.8 billion since 2003," added Oddone.
If current surveying and prospecting are positive the first exploratory offshore well will be drilled in the Enarsa I maritime block off the coast of Mar del Plata in 2010 which will demand a US$ 60 million investment.
Petrobras also has plans for a second exploratory area in Enarsa II, together with Repsol YPF and Argentina's energy company Enarsa.
"Offshore exploration demands huge investments, developing a complex logistics and results will be seen on the long term, so it's a big bet," said Oddone.
He added that given the recent excellent discoveries along the Brazilian southern continental platform, "we're working in the articulation of structural geological studies from the sea beds in Brazil and Argentina."
Regarding fuel shortage in Argentina Oddone pointed out that "there are no limits to sales, maybe there are temporary delays but it's not company policy." He added that Petrobras keeps investing in two of its refineries to help increase the provision of liquid fuels.
When asked about the Argentine government policy regarding hydrocarbons prices for the domestic market, Oddone said that "the prices policy is set by the government and we work according to those conditions, but always keeping present the long term."
"We're already producing 30% more than last year in our refineries and we still remain interested in building another refinery in association with the Argentinean government," said Oddone.
He also mentioned that that association refining interest is extensive to other oil corporations.