Bolivia is running out of natural gas, its main source of income, due to the lack of investment in the exploration of new reserves, recognized this Wednesday the government of the president Luis Arce.
“Starting in 2014 (…) we began a decline in the production of natural gas in the country,” said the president of the state oil company YPFB, Armin Dorgathenin a press conference.
“There weren’t a lot of exploratory projects going ahead,” the official acknowledged.
Luis Arce admitted that natural gas production in Bolivia declined
On Tuesday, Arce launched the first warning sign: “There is a decline in production (…) which unfortunately has been falling until it hit bottom.”The president, in power since 2020, recognized the lack of investment in the sector.
“We have lost many gas reserves during all this time. Those gas reserves have not been replaced and the country, therefore, does not have the capacity to produce more gas,” he said during a public act in the city of Oruro (south ).
Bolivia has not certified its natural gas reserves since 2019. The last report estimated its reserves at 8.95 trillion cubic feet.
Gas production fell from 59 million cubic meters per day (mmcd) in 2014 to 37 mmcd currently, according to the YPFB president.
In addition to supplying the domestic market, Bolivian gas is sold to the Argentine and Brazilian markets.
To which markets does Bolivia export natural gas?
Bolivia exports to Brazil 14 million cubic meters per day (mmcd) and to Argentina between 16 and 18 mmcd. In addition, the Argentine State plans to stop depending on the Bolivian supply from 2025.
According to the independent Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade (IBCE), gas sales represented 2,973 million dollars, ahead of mining and the agricultural sector.
Arce and Dorgathen announced investments to “reactivate” new gas fields and plan to allocate 669 million dollars in exploration activities this year.
Bolivia, during the government of Evo Moralesnationalized its natural gas reserves in 2006, in the hands, then, of a dozen Spanish, English, Brazilian, British and Argentine companies.
Morales, who ruled between 2006 and 2019, assured that Bolivia was able to supply gas to the entire region, since, according to him, the country was sitting on a “sea of gas.”