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ECONOMY | 31-08-2023 12:09

Bolivia says it's running out of natural gas, its top earner

Bolivia is running out of gas reserves, its main source of economic income, the government of President Luis Arce acknowledged on Wednesday.

Bolivia is running out of natural gas, its main source of income, due to a lack of investment in exploration for new reserves, a senior official said Wednesday.

Since 2014, the country has seen a decline in production, the president of state oil company YPFB, Armin Dorgathen, told reporters in the eastern city of Santa Cruz.

"There were not a lot of exploration projects," he added.

On Tuesday, President Luis Arce, had also warned of a decline in production until "hitting rock bottom."

"We have lost many gas reserves," the president said at a public event in the city of Oruro.

"These gas reserves have not been replenished and the country therefore does not have the capacity to produce more gas," he said.

The latest available figures put Bolivia's natural gas reserves at 8.95 trillion cubic feet.

Production fell from 59 million cubic metres per day in 2014 to 37 today, according to Dorgathen.

Apart from supplying the domestic market, Bolivia also sells gas to Argentina and Brazil.

According to the independent Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade, natural gas sales brought in some US$2.97 billion in 2022, more than the country's mining or agriculture sectors.

Dorgathen said some US$669 million would be invested in exploration this year.

During the presidency of Evo Morales, Bolivia nationalized its natural gas reserves in 2006, which had been in the hands of Spanish, British, Brazilian and Argentine companies until then. 

He said at the time Bolivia was able to provide gas to the entire region, as it was sitting on "a sea" of the commodity. 

 

– AFP

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) Bolivia is running out of gas reserves, its main source of economic income, the government of President Luis Arce acknowledged on Wednesday.

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