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Ease price restrictions to encourage spending, says Pluspetrol

By Derek Brower

Low, regulated energy prices in countries such as Argentina are deterring investments by oil and gas developers, Pluspetrol said yesterday.

"The economics of hydrocarbon prices in Argentina now do not really allow aggressive investments," Alberto Moons, a senior executive at the company told WGC News in Buenos Aires.

"Argentina is mature," he added. "Most of the easy oil and gas has been found." The remaining hydrocarbons will come from more expensive and technologically tricky plays, such as tight gas and the offshore, he said.

However, Moons said the government has indicated that changes to the pricing structure – which at present keeps regulated energy prices low – could be forthcoming. The country's unions and provinces also want the change, he said.

Meanwhile, Pluspetrol is pressing on with another phase in its Camisea gas project, in Peru. Moons says an expansion under way will increase production to 1.6bn cubic feet a day (cf/d) by 2012, compared with 0.92bn cf/d now. The company and its partners have already spent $6bn on the project, $2bn alone in the upstream.

Pluspetrol produces more than 335,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day. It operates in five South American countries and also in Angola.

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