France's Total developing natural gas field off Argentina

BUENOS AIRES Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:22pm EDT

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - France's Total (TOTF.PA) said on Wednesday it is investing $850 million to develop a deep water natural gas field off the southern coast of Argentina with German firm Wintershall and local company Pan American Energy.

The Vega Pleyade field is located in South Atlantic waters near the Patagonian province of Tierra del Fuego, Total said in a public presentation in Buenos Aires.

The field is expected to start producing toward the end of 2015, said local Total official Javier Rielo.

The project's first stage includes three wells that should at first produce 6 million cubic meters of gas per day, or about 5 percent of the South American country's current output, before expanding to a maximum 10 million cubic meters per day.

Separately, Argentina's state-run energy firm YPF has picked BP (BP.L) to supply the bulk of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) needs in 2014 and 2015 following a major recent tender, a source with direct knowledge of the deal said.

South America's No. 3 economy last month launched its annual tender to secure approximately 5.57 million tonnes of LNG over the 2014-2015 period to help cover its energy needs.

(Reporting by Karina Grazina; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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