LA PAZ – Bolivian state-owned energy company YPFB has paid $133 million to Brazil’s Petrobras and France’s Total for their stake in pipeline operator Transierra.
YPFB CEO Carlos Villegas said in the eastern city of Santa Cruz that following the acquisition the Andean nation now has full control over domestic hydrocarbon transport via pipelines.
Bolivia’s leftist president, Evo Morales, also was on hand for the signing ceremony at the company’s installations.
The company, which will henceforth be known as YPFB-Transierra, now has a 55.5 percent stake in the pipeline, while YPFB-Andina, in which YPFB and Spain’s Repsol have nearly equal shares, has the remaining 44.5 percent.
The strategic, 432-kilometer (270-mile) Transierra pipeline transports natural gas from resource-rich fields in the southern region of Tarija to Rio Grande, Santa Cruz province, Bolivia’s main gas-export hub.
Hydrocarbons Minister Juan Jose Sosa praised Petrobras and Total for the “goodwill offered in these negotiations” to reach a satisfactory agreement.
“That shows not only their willingness to support this process of change embarked upon by us as Bolivians, but also their trust in the legal certainty that the government offers them through its respect and recognition of their investments,” Sosa said.
YPFB negotiated the purchase of Petrobras’ and Total’s shares following the enactment of a law in December requiring the state-owned energy company to have a majority stake in Transierra.
The deal incorporates YPFB-Transierra into a state-controlled natural gas transport system that also includes YPFB Transporte; GasTransBoliviano, which operates Bolivia’s portion of the bi-national pipeline that carries gas to Brazil; and YPFB Logistica.
Edwin Alvarez, who had served until now as YPFB’s head of contract management, has been named top executive of YPFB-Transierra.