LA PAZ – Bolivia has fallen from the second-largest to the sixth-biggest holder of proven gas reserves in South America, with Peru now in second place behind Venezuela, a Bolivian Hydrocarbons Association, or CBH, report says.
Venezuela has 200 trillion cubic feet of gas, while Peru has 16 TCF, thanks to new discoveries; Trinidad and Tobago, 15.3 TCF; Argentina, 13.2 TCF; Brazil, 13 TCF; Bolivia, 10.5 TCF; and Colombia, 4.4 TCF, the CBH said.
The report marks the first time that private association, which represents gas companies operating in Bolivia, has taken into account unofficial information concerning a drop in the country’s natural gas reserves.
President Evo Morales’ administration has insisted on keeping that data under wraps.
Unofficial sources - which have not been refuted by the government - say a report issued by U.S. consulting firm Ryder Scott and kept secret by Morales’ administration puts Bolivia’s reserves at 8.3 TCF, or about a third of what Bolivia previously thought it had.
State-owned Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos, or YPFB, the main operator in Bolivia’s gas industry since a 2006 nationalization, has asked Ryder Scott to make changes to the report before it is made public.
In 2005, Dallas-based petroleum consulting company DeGolyer & MacNaughton said Bolivia had 26.7 TCF of proven reserves and held the second-largest gas reserves in South America behind Venezuela.
YPFB has officially said that report, issued before the socialist Morales took office, inflated the reserves total for the benefit of private energy companies that dominated the sector at that time.
Foreign companies that operate in minority partnerships with YPFB say they need legal guarantees before making investments that will ensure exports to Brazil and Argentina and a sufficient supply of gas to the domestic market. EFE