Forty-five days from now it will call for bids to explore three areas in the Pacific Basin with a combined area of one million 406 thousand 674 hectares.
The Ministry of Energy and Mines is betting that natural gas and oil will be found in these areas.
The three projects - each involving an area of more than 400,000 hectares - will be undertaken jointly with El Salvador. They were announced last week in a joint statement by Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom and El Salvador's president, Antonio Saca.
Three other purely Guatemalan exploration projects are also on the drawing board - two in the northern province of Peten (Laguna Blanca and Cotzal) and one in Quiché (Piedras Blancas).
The government has not yet decided if it extends the exploitation contract for the country’s largest oil field; this prevents granting additional exploration concessions.
The Mining Ministry, headed by Carlos Meany, has defined 12 areas suitable for exploration. Two of these presumably contain natural gas fields. To proceed, the Ministry is waiting for the approval of Alvaro Colom, president of Guatemala.
The company City Petén has discovered a reservoir of high quality condensate, rich in butane and propane, in an oil well in Ocultún, Petén.
"Everything indicated that Guatemala only had heavy oil with high sulfur content. However, this discovery of natural gas is changing the energy mix in the medium term, " said Luis Ayala, director of Hydrocarbons of the Ministry of Energy and Mines.
The Mexican government is considering constructing a pipeline and eventually a refinery to supply the region.
Miguel Hakim, Mexican Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, said his country is considering building a refinery and natural gas pipeline which would cross the isthmus and would be an alternative option for generating power at low cost. Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), has $2 billion to invest.
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