Argentina's Pan American Energy to spend $3.4 billion on natural gas work in 2013-2017

Argentina's Pan American Energy says it will spend $3.4 billion on natural gas exploration and output in the country over the next five years.

A statement issued Friday says the company struck a deal with the Argentine government to boost the price it will get for natural gas to $7.5 per million British thermal units.

The company says the agreement is similar to one recently reached between the government and YPF, which is Argentina's state-run energy company.

Argentina is trying to combat an energy deficit that has forced it to import billions of dollars' worth of fuels each year.

Pan American Energy was responsible last year for 18 percent of Argentina's daily oil production and 18 percent of the country's daily output of natural gas.