ASUNCION, Paraguay – A British energy company said Monday that it made its first major oil discovery in Paraguay’s Chaco Basin, though the government said it’s too soon to tell if the find is commercially viable.
Shares of London-based President Energy doubled after the oil explorer announced the discovery of light oil in the Lapacho well about 280 miles north of the capital, Asuncion. The company said the find is “expected to be commercial.”
“This discovery represents a significant milestone for both President Energy and for the country of Paraguay,” company Chairman Peter Levine said.
But Paraguay’s deputy energy and mining minister remained cautious.
“This is a very serious, technical matter. It will take a couple of months to analyze whether the basin can be exploited commercially,” Emilio Buongermini said.
Dozens of Paraguayan and international companies have searched unsuccessfully for oil in the Chaco basin for decades. Paraguay, which has no proven oil reserves, must import all of its fuel for domestic use.
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