LA PAZ – Bolivia’s government on Monday brought the Rio Grande liquefied natural gas plant into full operation, a facility built by a Spanish consortium led by engineering company Sener and aimed at supplying LNG to 600,000 people in the Andean nation.
Production not needed for domestic consumption, meanwhile, could be exported to Brazil, Peru and Paraguay.
Bolivian President Evo Morales; his hydrocarbons minister, Luis Alberto Sanchez; the president of Bolivian state-owned energy firm YPFB, Guillermo Acha; and two senior Sener executives, Borja Zarraga and Ignacio Larrea, attended the inauguration ceremony in the eastern province of Santa Cruz.
Morales said in a speech that the project had become a reality thanks to “the people’s struggle,” recalling that in 2003, prior to his presidency, a private initiative was launched for the construction of an LNG plant at a Chilean port for the purpose of exporting Bolivian gas to the United States but was later aborted due to a popular uprising.
The Bolivian project will benefit some 600,000 people in the domestic market via natural gas connections to 144,000 homes, Sanchez said.
The LNG produced by the plant, the first of its kind in Bolivia, will be distributed via a “virtual pipeline” system that includes a fleet of “cryogenic transport tanks, mobile regasification units and satellite regasification stations located at different sites across Bolivia,” Sener said.
The plant produces 210 tons of LNG per day and has the capacity to store 3,000 cubic meters (105,735 cubic feet), enabling it to supply households in 27 municipalities nationwide that otherwise would not have access to gas due to their distance from traditional distribution networks.