Bolivian President Luis Arce announced Saturday the discovery of major new reserves of natural gas that officials said could eventually bring in $260 million a year.
The discovery was made in the "Margarita-10" well, operated by Spanish company Repsol in the huge Margarita-Huacaya field. One of the country's main natural gas reservoirs, it covers parts of the southern Chuquisaca and Tarija regions.
Natural gas is one of landlocked Bolivia's principal exports.
The well is expected to produce 300 billion to 350 billion cubic feet of natural gas, Arce said in the Andean city of Oruro.
Bolivian state oil company YPFB said the well should generate income for the state of more than $260 million a year.
Repsol and other foreign companies operate in the Margarita-Huacaya field through concessions granted by the Bolivian state via YPFB.
For years, hydrocarbons were Bolivia's chief export, but in recent years they have been surpassed by mineral exports, principally gold and zinc.
FROM THE ARCHIVES