LA PAZ – Spanish firm Tecnicas Reunidas has signed a contract to build a natural gas liquid separation plant in southeastern Bolivia.
Tecnicas Reunidas Vice President Juan Llado signed the agreement Wednesday along with the president of Bolivian state-owned energy firm Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos, Carlos Villegas, at a ceremony in the southeastern city of Yacuiba.
Bolivian President Evo Morales was present for the contract signing.
The natural gas liquid separation plant will require an investment of $498 million (357 million euros) and will be the third largest in South America after others built by other companies in Peru and Argentina.
According to YPFB, the plant will process 32 million cubic meters (1.1 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per day and produce 2,037 metric tons per day of liquefied petroleum gas and more than 2,000 barrels per day of gasoline.
Tecnicas Reunidas has until 2014 to build the plant in the southern province of Tarija, which borders Argentina – a major market for Bolivian gas – and is home to Bolivia’s largest natural gas fields.
Foreign companies such as Spain’s Repsol-YPF and Brazil’s Petrobras operate in that region.
Morales said the plant will allow Bolivia to begin industrializing its natural gas output, in keeping with a pledge his government made in 2006 when it put the country’s gas industry under state control.
The socialist president said Tecnicas Reunidas won the contract after a “clean” bidding process, but he added that a performance bond is in place to ensure the company completes the plant on schedule.
Llado said the plant will represent a big leap forward for Bolivia’s natural gas industry and that Tecnicas Reunidas and other leading international firms that competed for the contract want to work in Bolivia, a country that “is attracting outside investors.”
Tecnicas Reunidas had said in a press release after being awarded the contract that the liquids would mainly be destined for export but that the LPG would be used “to cover the deficit for internal demand.”
The consortiums that fell short in the bidding were: AESA-Linde (Argentina-Germany), OAS-Tecnimont (Brazil-Italy), Saipem-Sinopec (Italy-China) and Samsung-Hyundai (South Korea). EFE