Bolivian revenues from gas exports fall over $1 bn

December 4th, 2009 - 6:28 pm ICT by IANS  

La Paz, Dec 4 (EFE) The revenues that Bolivia receives from natural gas exports will come in at roughly $2 billion for all of 2009, down from $3.16 billion last year, the Bolivian Hydrocarbons Chamber, or CBH, said.
The CBH, which comprises all the natural gas and oil companies that operate in the country, said Thursday in a special report that the “price factor” was the primary cause of the drop.

The main markets for landlocked Bolivia’s natural gas are Brazil and to a lesser extent Argentina.

Under the fossil-fuel nationalisation ordered by President Evo Morales in May 2006, state-owned Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos, which owns Bolivia’s estimated 48 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and much smaller reserves of crude oil, has authority to participate in every phase of the hydrocarbons industry.

About a dozen private companies, including Brazil’s Petrobras, Spain’s Repsol YPF, Britain’s BG Group plc and French giant Total, continue to operate in Bolivia through minority partnerships with YPFB.

The price of Bolivia’s natural gas climbed to as high as $8 per million British thermal units (BTU) last year, compared with a current price of less than $5 per million BTU.

The CBH warned in its report that Bolivia’s dependence on natural gas is good in times of bonanza, “but harmful when prices and markets fall”.

Natural gas is Bolivia’s leading export product and the sharply higher taxes and royalties foreign companies must now pay as a result of the nationalisation process are a major source of income for the treasury.

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