Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 14:37 UK

Uruguay in gas field find claim

Uruguay"s President Tabare Vazquez in Mexico City
The announcement was made on the president's official website

Uruguay says it may have found a large natural gas field that would change it from an importer to an exporter of gas.

The announcement of the possible find, which could also contain oil, was made by President Tabare Vazquez in a note on his official website.

Local reports say that the field could contain as much as three trillion cubic feet (85bn cubic metres) of gas but there has not yet been any drilling.

Details of the first oil and gas rights auctions are expected in December.

The auctions themselves are expected to take place in July 2009.

The field was located about 150km (93 miles) off Uruguay's Atlantic coast near the city of Punta del Este, the president said.

Estimates of the volume of gas was based on seismic studies, which tend to provide very broad estimates.

Uruguayans used an estimated 102.8m cubic metres of natural gas last year, according to CIA World Factbook.

This means that if the estimates are correct, the gas field would provide for its needs for the next 827 years.

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