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Total, Wintershall to Invest $2.1 Billion in Argentina Natural-Gas Production

02/22/2013 | 08:52am US/Eastern

BUENOS AIRES--France's Total SA (TOT, FP.FR) and Germany's Wintershall AG will each invest about one billion U.S. dollars in Argentina over the next five years to boost natural-gas production, the Argentine government said in a statement Friday.

Total will invest $1.1 billion, while Wintershall will invest $1 billion in projects that will increase the country's annual natural-gas output by 3.1% between 2013 and 2017, according to the statement. Increased output from the investments is expected to total 12 million cubic meters per day.

Argentina is on a big push to try and attract investment in its energy sector to boost output.

Oil-and-gas production has declined in recent years while has demand soared, turning Argentina into a net energy importer and forcing the government to spend billions each year on gas and fuel imports. In 2011, Argentina spent more than $9 billion on imported energy.

Last year, the government nationalized a controlling stake in the country's leading oil-and-gas company from YPF SA (YPF, YPFD.BA) from Spain's Repsol SA (REPYY, REP.MC), accusing the company of bleeding YPF dry with dividends and failing to invest. Now, the government is pouring billions into expanding YPF's production.

Write to Shane Romig at shane.romig@dowjones.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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