By Peter Tase
In February 28th, the City of Juan O’Leary, department of Alto Paraná, was visited by Paraguayan president, Federico Franco who announced that this region may have the largest natural gas reserves in Latin America. President Franco had presented the local farmers with agricultural equipment such as covers for gardens that reduce the Sun’s heat and preserve soil moisture. These half shadow covers will enable local farmers to increase their vegetable production and use less water.
President Franco said in his statement that Paraguay currently has received many proposals by international oil companies that are interested to drill oil in the Chaco, and to add into this commodity leverage there is also the presence of the largest gas reserves in the area of Juan Leon Mallorquin and Juan O’Leary. This marketable gas will enable the locals secure a steady income and better living conditions. According to President Franco, Juan O’Leary and city of Juan Leon Mallorquin, will generate a revenue that would exceed that of Itaipu Bi-national Dam, which is administered by Paraguay and Brazil.
On April 26th, 1973, Paraguay and Brazil signed the treaty for the development of a major hydroelectric project that would belong to both countries and generate electricity on the Parana river, nearby the opening of Yguazu River and Ciudad del Este, which is considered as the Comercial Capital of Paraguay. The treaty was ratified by Paraguayan Law N389 dated on July 11th, 1973, enacted and promulgated by the National Congress by a federal decree on August 28th, 1973. Since then Itaipu is considered to be the ATM machine of the Paraguayan state together with the Yacyreta Hydroelectric Dam, whose administration and profits are shared with Argentina.
President Franco is confident that when the day of exporting natural gas from Alto Parana, this region will be the wealthiest area of the republic, he also added that “it is also important to protect and maintain a healthy soil for organic agricultural products”
In 1992-93, there were drilled three exploration wells in the district of Juan León Mallorquín; the first, named Majorcan I, was undertaken by Texaco, Co., and the other two drills were led by Guarani Co, of the exploration in the area and the other two, Inés I and II, in charge of the company Guarani, everyone in the town of Potrero Jardín, were confident that first results indicated the presence of oil in this area of the country. During the examination of the drilling well named Inés II, engineers had announced positive results and that they had found five types of marketable pentane gas; this initiative proved to be a great technological accomplishment, 20 years ago, and only recently is being rediscovered with the hope to use these natural resources for the benefit of the local people.
Once the natural gas and crude oil is exported from Alto Parana to the neighboring Brazilian Provinces, the potential income generated from such resources is expected to change the lives and economy of local families.
Peter Tase, Assistant for International Programs, Global Engineering Deans Council