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Emergency Summit on Bolivia’s Oil Nationalization Takes Lula to Argentina

The presidents of Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil are holding an emergency summit over Bolivia’s decision to nationalize its oil and natural gas industry.

Today’s talks are being held in the northern Argentine town of Puerto Iguazu.

Bolivian President Evo Morales nationalized his country’s energy industry on Monday, May 1st, drawing concern from energy firms, investors and some foreign governments.

Both Brazil and Argentina rely heavily on Bolivian gas. Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras, announced it was suspending investments in Bolivia in response to the nationalization.

But Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez traveled to Bolivia on the eve of today’s summit to support Mr. Morales.

Under the decree, foreign energy companies will have to sign new operating contracts within 180 days or leave Bolivia and turn over most production control to its state-owned oil company.

Spain says it will soon send a delegation to Bolivia to discuss the decree. Spain’s Repsol energy firm is one of several foreign companies operating in Bolivia.

Bolivia has the second-largest natural gas reserves in South America after Venezuela.

VoA

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