Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Analysis: Bolivia, Venezuela bolster gas
by Carmen Gentile
Miami (UPI) Aug 6, 2008

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Venezuela has committed nearly $1 billion to help Bolivia increase its natural gas reserves -- the second-largest in Latin America -- an expenditure that comes amid increased tensions ahead of a recall referendum for the Bolivian president.

President Evo Morales, whose leadership is the subject of Sunday's referendum, announced Bolivia's state-owned energy company YPFB and its Venezuelan counterpart PDVSA would explore proven natural gas reserves in hopes of capitalizing on more of the country's estimated 48 trillion cubic feet.

"We hope to add more than 10 trillion cubic feet to the reserves" at a cost of $888 million, said PDVSA Vice President Eulogio del Pino.

The deal struck this week falls under the auspices of Petroandina Gas, a joint venture formed by the two countries in 2006 when Morales nationalized Bolivia's energy sector.

While YPFB has a 60 percent majority interest in Petroandina, the majority of the funds for increased natural gas exploration will likely come from Venezuelan coffers.

Bolivia's gas sector has been the center of controversy in the poor South American nation for decades.

Earlier this year three eastern provinces, all with large gas deposits, voted in favor of greater autonomy from the central government, noting how their profits go largely to pay for Bolivian social programs that benefit the largest indigenous population in the west.

Morales denounced the vote, calling it illegal and vowing it would not be recognized by his government. He also called on governors from other provinces in eastern Bolivia to sit down to talks before carrying out their own autonomy votes.

However, Morales now faces a political challenge closer to home with a recall referendum on his remaining time in office scheduled for August. His term is set to expire in 2011.

In the meantime, leaders in the eastern provinces have expressed displeasure with Morales and his nationalization efforts, saying the country's wealthy are unfairly taxed to pay for his social programs. More than 80 percent of Santa Cruz residents voted for more autonomy for the province.

Morales is not the only Bolivian leader to feel the wrath of his country's citizenry over the handling of the gas industry. In 2003 President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada was forced from office during widespread violence that left dozens dead after he suggested Bolivia sell natural gas to its longstanding rival and neighbor Chile, to whom his country lost its coastline during a 19th-century war.

The gas issue was eventually the undoing of Carlos Mesa as well. In June 2005 the Bolivian leader faced a round of violent protests over how the gas revenue was being spent. Mesa eventually stepped down, opening the door for Morales' eventual victory and decision to nationalize the gas industry.

Hoping to avoid the same pitfalls, Morales in May demanded that foreign companies increase their investment in petroleum production or face the possibility of being taken over by the state, as they must be able to boost production capacity to meet growing domestic and foreign demand.

Despite his efforts, Morale faces an uphill battle in the days leading up to the referendum, though many analysts predict he will win the vote and retain the presidency.

"Morales looks likely to gain a larger share of votes than what his current 54 percent approval rating shows, given that polls usually under-represent rural areas, where his support is stronger," said Erasto Almeida, a Latin America analyst with Eurasia Group.

Projected wins aside, the increasing violence in Bolivia's eastern gas-rich provinces could prove problematic as the region continues its efforts to gain more autonomy from a central government that opponents of Morales say favors the poor western provinces and indigenous populace there.

Protesters against Morales clashed with police in the gas-rich province of Tarija, leaving two people dead and several injured, prompting both Argentine and Venezuelan leaders to cancel planned trips to the capital for talks with Morales.

Last month Tarija residents voted overwhelmingly in support of greater autonomy from the central government, drawing a further divide in a poor South American country over the gas issue, joining three others that had already done the same.



Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Arctic map flags up territorial disputes over oil
London (AFP) Aug 6, 2008
British researchers have drawn up the first detailed map of areas in the Arctic that could spark border disputes over extensive oil and gas deposits, they said Wednesday. Experts from the International Boundaries Research Unit (IBRU) at Durham University in northeast England produced the map to illustrate current boundaries and possible future claims. Russia last year staked its disputed ... read more

NASA Awards Contracts For Concepts Of Lunar Surface Systems

NASA Lunar Science Institute Names First International Partner

NASA Tests Moon Imaging Spacecraft

NASA Hosts International Meeting For Lunar Science Discussions

Perchlorate salts: a major find on Mars

Phoenix Mars Team Opens Window On Scientific Process

About Water On Mars, The Origins Of Life And The Future Of Earth

4Frontiers Awarded Grant To Investigate Mars Greenhouse Materials

NASA Awards Space Radiobiology Research Grants

Environmental Tectonics's NASTAR Center Receives Award

Inspire Interns Help Design Next-Gen Space Fleet

Obama Promises A Better NASA

China's Space Ambitions

Rocket For China's Manned Space Mission At Launch Center

China To Release 700 Hours Of Chang'e-1 Data

China Aims For World-Class Space Industry In Seven Years

ISS Crew Inspired By Vision And Dreams Of Jules Verne

Space chiefs ponder ISS transport problem, post-2015 future

Space Station A Test-Bed For Future Space Exploration

Two Russian cosmonauts begin new space walk

Russian Launch Of Satellite On Converted Satan ICBM Postponed

Europe's Ariane rocket must develop or die: ex-CEO

Russia Launching Thai Earth Remote-Sensing Satellite

Russia Puts Off Launch Of Inmarsat Satellite Until August 19

CoRoT Exoplanet Stands Out From The Crowd

COROT's New Find Orbits Sun-Like Star

Chemical Clues Point To Dusty Origin For Earth-Like Planets

Astronomers discover clutch of 'super-Earths'

Satgate Contracts Four Transponders At New SES ASTRA Orbital Position

Argonne Scientists Discover New Class Of Glassy Material

Scientist says feathers are future of Asia construction

Seanodes Computing Solution In The Stars For NASA Astrophysics Group

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement