Bolivia Upheaval Doesn't Scare Brazil's Petrobras. For Now.

The president of Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, José Eduardo Dutra, affirmed that the political situation in Bolivia is "not at all alarming" and poses no threat to the company's activities in the neighboring country.

"Leaving Bolivia is not part of our plans, and we shall wait to see what happens," Dutra explained.

Bolivia recently passed a law increasing the taxes on firms that produce natural gas in the country. Petrobras's investments in Bolivia currently amount to US$ 1 billion, according to the president of the company.

Dutra explained that the new taxes, which raised the levy on foreign companies that invest in the Bolivian petroleum and gas sector to nearly 50%, are not sufficient to undermine the economic viability of Petrobras's ongoing projects in the country, since these investments have already paid for themselves over the years.

The problem, according to Dutra, is with new projects, such as the gas-chemical complex on the two countries' border. "This project will need to be reassessed."

The president of Petrobras also said that the recent bomb attack on a Petrobras installation in Bolivia was an "isolated instance" and that the greatest concern is for the "safety of the employees." "Let's say that the personnel are more careful."

Dutra recalled that various aspects of the new Bolivian law have not yet been regulated, which constitutes another reason for the company to await future developments. According to the law, previously existing contracts are supposed to be altered within 180 days, Dutra added.

AgĂȘncia Brasil

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