Globe, Latin America, Lifestyle, Okology, United Kingdom

‘Black gold’ is transforming Evo’s Bolivia

Over the past 10 years, YPFB generated revenues of over 33 billion dollars. In 2005, the South American nation was producing 30 million cubic metres of gas; it is now securing 60 million.


petroleo mariposa libertadClaudia Dupeirón


Nationalising strategic businesses in Bolivia allowed the state to restore its natural resources, meaning hydrocarbons have become a key economic driver.

Against that backdrop, Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPFB, meaning national oilfields) consolidated its status as a driving force of change in the country.

On 1 May 2006, President Evo Morales nationalised hydrocarbons. YPFB was turned into a state-run company, and on 29 October it signed new contracts with private oil companies, meaning up to 82% of its royalties financed the country.

Yacimientos Petrolíferos handles hydrocarbon chain operations and development, thereby guaranteeing procurement of domestic orders, fulfilling export contracts and opening new markets, so as to generate higher profits for the benefit of Bolivians.

Moreover, it is the first firm in the country to be entirely run by the State. Over the last 10 years, YPFB generated revenues of over 33 billion dollars. According to the firm’s president, Ã’scar Barriga, you cannot discuss the company’s current importance without mentioning nationalisation, which “marks a before and after in the Bolivian economy, as the state-owned company is now the country’s largest contributor.”

The company collaborates with state-run social programmes, such as the Juancito Pinto, Juana Azurduy and Renta Dignidad voucher programmes to sustain development in sectors that were previously neglected.

west oill petrole pixabayWhen talking about the role of YPFB, Barriga is adamant that the pledge of the company will always be to benefit the Bolivian people, who are the “keepers of natural resources following nationalisation”.

In 2005, Bolivia was producing 30 million cubic metres of gas; it is now securing 60 million, he explained.

Moreover, following nationalisation, 3.5 million Bolivians have gas at home, compared to the fewer than 50,000 families that could access the service prior to 2006, Sánchez points out.

The state-run company has so far installed 23 satellite regasification plants in remote rural populations that are lacking in conventional gas pipelines.

According to a company report, within the framework of national energy policies of change, such plants are coming to six departments, with the exception of Cochabamba, Chuquisaca and Tarija, as pipelines already exist in those regions.

When it comes to industrialising those resources, YPFB projects include two liquid separation plants, and processes to export liquid petroleum gas (LPG), which will provide the state with further revenue, he comments.

The ammonia and urea plant falls within industrialisation plans, based in Bulo Bulo in the Cochabamba department of Bolivia.

petroleo escaleras futuro pixabayThe Bulo Bulo plant is part of the natural gas industrialisation process to diversify the Bolivian state’s economic income.

According to a report from the Ministry of Economy, the plant will generate 2 billion dollars over the next 20 years.

The first stage concluded with building and setting up liquid separation plants in Río Grande (Santa Cruz) and Gran Chaco (Tarija). Both guarantee liquid petroleum gas (LPG) for domestic and foreign markets.

The urea industry required an investment of 895 million dollars and was built by the South Korean company Samsung Engineering Co. LTD.

Of overall fertiliser, 20% is destined for the domestic market and 80% for export.

To date, one Brazilian and another Argentinian company have shown interest in entering into contracts with Yacimientos Petrolíferos to buy the resource. Agreements include production of 700 thousand metric tonnes in the plant.

Petroleo pixabay 2Doors open to hydrocarbons

YPFB is continuing its trade contracts of 19 million cubic metres of gas per day (MMmcd) with Argentina, and with Brazil (25 MMmcd). Nevertheless, its outlook is expanding and the company is offering its resources to other nations in the region, such as Paraguay.

At the VII International YPFB Congress on Gas and Oil 2017, the state-run oil company signed 12 scouting and export natural gas and liquid petroleum gas agreements with several global frontrunners in the sector.

Yacimientos Petrolíferos entered into contracts with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Paraguay and the company Petropar, as well as with the government of Mato Grosso Gas in Brazil, and the Argentinian firm Refinor, to sell natural gas and liquid petroleum gas (LPG). It also signed other agreements with the Russian company Gazprom to scout in the areas of Vitacua and la Ceiba. (PL)

Photos: pixabay  –  (Translated by Abaigh Wheatley – Email:

Share it / Compartir:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *