Daily Archives: April 8, 2014

Will Bolivia ever find oil? Better be outside our National Parks!!

Carlos Miranda writes in El Dia:

Energy and Hydrocarbons

Will we find oil?

Carlos MirandaFor over three years YPFB is trying to achieve private local and/or foreign investment in the search for hydrocarbons in the country.

However, its great effort has been unsuccessful.

In turn, the Government showed concern that the absence of new reserves and increased production of gas, run the risk of not having the same export earnings, thus compromising their current and future management.

For these reasons YPFB annually increased their exploration budgets. This year indicates that it will invest 40% more than the previous year.

The master line of current oil policy, is to quickly be able to sell as much gas as possible. This coincides with the aspiration of any international oil company to monetize the reserves discovered as soon as possible. By this coincidence of motive, the solution came around.

Earlier this year, two private oil companies (Total and Repsol) have presented exceptionally well results, with which, it is reasonably to expect not to have problems in the provision of gas to meet existing commitments.

Attention has centered in gas regardless of oil.

Oil is the single source for petrol and diesel, which are vital to our economy.

Other sources such as biofuels, gas-to-liquids (GTL) are out of reach.

Moreover, the search for oil in Bolivia does not interest foreign oil companies.

Therefore discovering oil is in the hands of YPFB. That’s not good news. Over 10 years ago that the state enterprise alone did not discover any field. Neither under any partnership. Associated with PDVSA in PetroAndina can not start drilling the Lliquimuni well for over six years.

This bad news can be partly explained. It seems that YPFB has not formed a select and well qualified professional team to handle national the vision of finding hydrocarbons. To form such a team takes time and having experienced professionals. Meanwhile there is a disorientation. It continues to give priority to the traditional area.

Additionally, the interim president of YPFB on several occasions has complained bitterly about the difficulty and delay that represents the demands and paperwork of the indigenous people. [which also illustrates the lack of having competent professionals in the Sustainable Development, Community Relations field.]

Moreover, a systematic exploration work in the non-traditional area requires to have a professional body such as indicated above, the affinity is not required under the current system of government as a precondition for such office.

Resolving the difficulties pointed out by the interim president of YPFB, would mean to rectify exacerbated policy measures inscribed in the Constitution that would represent a political setback for the government. That’s totally unlikely to happen in a pre-election year.

So, being as we are for a long time, it is very difficult that we will discover oil. That means we will continue importing diesel. The year 2013 was 70% and this is probably more than 85% of our consumption. This is condemning us to be an importing country for long.

If gas prices drop significantly or export requirements of the purchasing gas from countries would go down, it will become very dramatic to be able to pay for those imports with state funds other than from gas exports.


In sum: need to find and exploit oil to at least keep up current economic situation… it is going to be hard and difficult. Worst thing that would happen is that current ochlocracy remains in power… as we cannot expect better from them!