MOSCOW – Bolivia’s President Evo Morales met on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, as part of a two-day visit to Moscow aimed at consolidating the countries’ bilateral energy partnership.
While receiving Morales at the Kremlin, Putin expressed Moscow’s willingness to expand its cooperation with the South American country in the hydrocarbons area.
“Gazprom (the state-owned Russian natural gas producer) is working at two (Bolivian) fields where it extracts 2.5 billion cubic meters of gas. It’s now studying expanding production, which could be doubled,” Putin said at the start of talks with Morales.
A consortium in which the Bolivian unit of French oil major Total is the operator with a 50 percent stake, Gazprom and Bolivia’s TecPetrol each have a 20 percent interest and a unit of Bolivian state energy company YPFB has a 10 percent stake participates in exploration projects at the Aquio and Ipati gas and oil blocks, where the Incahuasi gas and condensate field is being developed.
Gazprom and Total also are carrying out an exploration project at the Azero block, which like Aquio and Ipati is located in southern Bolivia.
Putin also noted that Rosatom, Russia’s federal agency on atomic energy, was developing a nuclear research center in Bolivia.
“So I’m very pleased to confirm that our relations are growing, and today we’ll issue a joint declaration documenting all areas of our interaction,” he added.
For his part, Morales underscored the countries’ shared values, particularly in terms of “respect for nature, for Mother Earth.”
Bolivia’s president expressed his country’s interest in cooperating with the Eurasian Economic Union, which is made up of the post-Soviet states of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.
Morales on Thursday will visit Gazprom’s headquarters, where he is expected to sign several agreements locking in roughly $1 billion in Russian investment in Bolivia’s hydrocarbons sector.