From 21 to 24 November the fourth Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) was held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
The President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Evo Morales, opened the Forum, dedicated to the topic “Natural Gas as the Fuel of Choice for Sustainable Development.”
The participating countries were represented by ministers of the fuel and energy sector, heads of international and national energy companies, and industry experts.
The Russian delegation to the GECF was headed by Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, Alexander Novak and included representatives of PJSC Gazprom, Gazprom International, Gazprom Gazomotornoye Toplivo, Gazprom Export, and other subsidiaries.
At the “gas OPEC” platform, Managing Director and CEO of Gazprom International, Andrey Fick, held a number of working meetings. At the meeting with Managing Director of Total for the Americas, Michel Hourcard, the parties discussed the prospects for joint work at the Ipati and Aquio fields, and the implementation of exploration projects at the Azero Block.
“Gas will play a significant role for many decades, and Gazprom continues to invest in low-cost development and production of the hydrocarbons using the latest technologies,” said Andrey Fick during his speech at the plenary session on natural gas markets, gas prices and cost optimization, in which he talked about the benefits of gas as an energy source.
On November 23, Bolivian Minister of Hydrocarbons Luis Alberto Sanchez, Managing Director and CEO of Gazprom International Andrey Fick and President of YPFB Oscar Barriga, in the presence of President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia Evo Morales and Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak, signed a document on the delivery of the final results of the project “Update to the Oil and Gas Master Plan of Bolivia until 2040”.
In addition, a number of key documents on further cooperation were signed between Gazprom International and YPFB, including:
- Memorandum on the establishment of a joint venture to render services in Bolivia
- Memorandum on a technical partnership with YPFB Chaco in geological prospecting
- Joint statement of intent to continue to identify mutually beneficial conditions in order to conclude oilfield service contracts for the La Ceiba and Vitiacua fields in the south of Bolivia.
“The Ministry of Energy will continue to support the development of cooperation between Russian companies and Bolivian partners,” said Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak at the end of the Forum.
The Gas Exporting Countries Forum brings together countries that possess 73% of the world's gas reserves and together perform about half of the world’s gas extraction.
An intergovernmental agreement was signed in 2008 to define the Forum's main areas of focus and working principles: relations with consumer countries, exchange of information on projections and implementation of investment programs of producer countries, use of the latest technologies in the gas industry, and arrangement of joint work regarding LNG projects.
The list of GECF participants includes Iran, Algeria, Libya, Russia, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Qatar, Egypt, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and Bolivia.
Bolivia is the third biggest producer of hydrocarbons in South America. More than 20 billion cubic meters of natural gas is produced here annually, and its proven reserves as of the end of 2013 were estimated at 297 billion cubic meters, with oil and condensate reserves at 28 million tons.
Gazprom's interests in Bolivia are represented by Gazprom International, a specialized company aimed at implementing hydrocarbon prospecting, exploration and development projects outside Russia. In Bolivia the company has representative offices in Santa Cruz de la Sierra and La Paz.
In 2016, PJSC Gazprom, the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energy of Bolivia and YPFB signed a Roadmap for the implementation of projects in this country. In accordance with the Roadmap, the parties agreed to implement joint prospecting, exploration, extraction and transportation of hydrocarbons in Bolivia and update to the Gas Master Plan of Bolivia until 2040.