Bolivia Tells Brazil to Get Out of the Oil Distribution Business by July 1st

Brazil’s Oil Company Petrobras Bolivian affiliate will cease to distribute fuel and refined products in Bolivia as of next July 1st in accordance with the May nationalization decree from Bolivian President Evo Morales government.

The announcement was confirmed Thursday by Bolivia’s government owned oil corporation YPFB CEO Jorge Alvarado, who said the company was prepared to take over operations.

"I can guarantee that at this moment YPFB is prepared to assume full control of all wholesale distribution plus the import of diesel fuel," said Alvarado.

"Obviously Petrobras will cease to be a wholesale distributor under the current system, since YPFB is taking over operations as well as those of the other seven wholesale fuel distributors in Bolivia," added Alvarado.

Petrobras Bolivian wholesale distributor is one of seven main suppliers of gasoline stations in Bolivia, as well as to the country’s three main cities, La Paz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba.

However private oil companies allege YPFB does not have, yet, the financial resources or the managerial skill and staff for such an undertaking.

According to Evo Morales’ nationalization decree all oil and gas corporations must transfer all their wholesale operations to the government’s YPFB.

In the nineties following the massive privatization of hydrocarbons exploration and exploitation, YPFB lost its leading role and became a mere auditor of the private oil industry.

With the recent re-nationalization YPFB must take control of the five main corporations in the country, and all related operations such as production, transport, refining, storage, distribution, marketing and industrialization of hydrocarbons.

"It’s not only Petrobras, all wholesale distributors will disappear next July 1st. All the fuel wholesale market will be operated by YPFB", underlined Alvarado.

As to the rest of negotiations regarding Petrobras assets such as the two refineries and contracts with the Bolivian government, Alvarado said no agreement has been reached but "we still have ahead four months to keep negotiating".

Mercopress – www.mercopress.com

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