The nationalisation of hydrocarbons in 2006 by President Evo Morales, was an historic decision that, since then, has marked economic, political and social growth in Bolivia.
Nara Romero Rams
On 1st May of this year, Morales enacted the Supreme Decree 28701, “Heroes of the Chaco”, which nationalised those natural resources for the Bolivian people and revived the energy company, Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), as the most important business in the country.
Since then, the nation has taken 37,484 million dollars through oil revenue, an income that benefits the governorates, towns, programmes and projects in the sectors of health, education, housing, employment, food production and others that raise Bolivians’ quality of life.
At the same time, it finances a large part of the vouchers and social systems that benefit children and young people (Juancito Pinto), single mothers (Juana Azurduy) and older people (Pension Fund).
A’scar Barriga, president of the YPFB, emphasised that this decision is today preventing income from oil revenue from getting into the hands of private, transnational businesses outside of Bolivia.
Barriga defined nationalisation of natural resources as the fundamental pillar for the entrance of the Andean-Amazonian nation into the era of industrialisation, a process that increases income through the sale of gas.
The construction of the Rio Grande Liquid Separation and Natural Liquefied Gas plants in Santa Cruz (East), the Carlos Villegas de Tarija (South) and the ammonia and urea from Cochabamba (Central) among other projects, they evidence the development of this initiative which started in 2006 with an investment of 2,084 million dollars, he said.
Simultaneously, YFPB and the operating companies invested 14,115 million dollars up to 2018 to guarantee the production and increase reserves of hydrocarbons, the latter valued at 70,000 million dollars.
Historical investments as a product of nationalisation were destined for activities of exploration and exploitation to increase our reserves and levels of gas production, as well as other projects related to transportation, refining and storage for supply of the domestic market.
For the period 2019-2025, it is predicted that they will invest 9,800 million dollars in industrialisation and, in agreement with countries in the region, as part of the internationalisation of YPFB.
The beneficiaries of the gas business are all the Bolivians, absolutely everyone, it highlighted. It reminded us that the orders from Bolivians to enter the era of industrialisation were made reality when President Morales instructed, in September 2017, to start operations in the Plant with ammonia and urea.
The facility, with a production capacity of 2,100 metric tonnes per day of fertiliser, has a section to obtain ammonia and the other, apart from this gas, to produce granulated urea.
It is specified that, for this plant, the first Bolivian petrochemical project, YPFB has invested around 958 million dollars with views towards construction, auditing and complementary work, and consolidating the country as an exporter of urea with prospects of diversifying the line-up of clients.
Other projects currently being developed by the oil-rich are the propylene and polypropylene plant, methanol, ammonium nitrate, units of mercury removal in the plants for separation of liquids, production of formaldehyde, among others that predict significant financial income.
Greater access for the population to natural gas is another one of the benefits of nationalisation in Bolivia, as a consumption of around 4.3 million cubic metres per day (MCMPD) was recorded in 2006 and, at the end of 2018, an increase of more than 13 MCMPD, according to YPFB statistics.
This strategy drove the national industry to an accessible and cleaner fuel, as well as achieving, after energy destined to the liquid separation and petrochemical plants, self-sufficiency in Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), the exportation of surplus goods and the production of fertilisers.
Bolivia has around a million domestic gas installations, this coverage made possible thanks to the GLN Virtual System and the Regasification Satellite Stations (ESR) and that also benefits intermediary communities where conventional gas pipelines do not reach in the border regions.
In 2016, its operations in the natural gas liquefaction plant in Santa Cruz had begun, responsible for processing energy to produce liquid gas and transport it through cryogenic tanks towards the ESR.
For 2019, YPFB will add four million MCMPD to the domestic market and will meet exportation targets for Brazil and Argentina, as well as drill 26 new wells in the geographical departments of Pando (North), Beni (North-East), La Paz, Santa Cruz and Chuquisaca (south east) and Tarija.
At the same time, 173 million dollars will be destined to overcome the millions of installations of gas networks to households, a service that will benefit more than five million Bolivians and that currently only covers 65% of the country.
Being 13 years out from nationalisation, Bolivia defines its present and future on the basis that its natural resources and strategic businesses belong to the people, a decision that marked the history of a country that led, for several years, the financial growth of the region. (PL)
(Translated by Donna Davison – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)