MADRID, Oct 14 (Reuters) - The Spanish government and two U.S. companies will invest 100 million euros in a joint venture to explore natural gas deposits in Basque Country in northern Spain, two newspapers reported on Friday evening.
Basque regional leader Patxi Lopez made the announcement in Dallas, Texas, where he is traveling with a group of Basque business leaders, El Mundo and El Pais newspapers reported on their on-line sites.
Lopez said there were potentially 180 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the deposits in the area south of Alava — enough to meet Spain’s demand for five years — and that two wells would be drilled to see if extraction was technically and economically viable, the papers reported.
Spain imports almost 100 percent of its gas and oil supply.
The Basque government will invest 40 million euros in the project while the two privately held U.S. companies, Heyco Energy and Cambria Europe, will invest 60 percent, the newspapers reported.
The government will own 42.8 percent of the project, Heyco 21.8 percent and Cambria Europe 35.3 percent, the reports said.
Basque government officials and representatives of Heyco and Cambria were not immediately available for comment. (Reporting By Fiona Ortiz; Editing by David Gregorio)