Soliz Rada reveals oil company pressure so that nationalization remains only on paper.

The ex-minister for hydrocarbons assures that the oil companies pressured for, amongst other things, the government removal of the subvention on gas and diesel, insisted on recording as theirs the gas and petroleum reserves of the country, questioned the right of Bolivia, though YPFB, to commercialise fuels in the internal and external market and that they accept the nationalization decree so long as it is not executed.

La Paz, Sept 18 (ABI) – the ex minister of hydrocarbons, Andres Soliz Rada, revealed today that the oil transnationals that operate on Bolivian soil are conditioning the signing of new contracts, that will prevail from next November 1, and assures that they are looking to ensure that the nationalization of hydrocarbons remains only on paper.

The irrevocable resignation of Soliz Rada opened up today a series of pressures from the oil companies against the government of president Evo Morales, during this phase of negotiations that, up until his resignation, was lead by Soliz Rada, plus four ministers of the state and the president of YPFB.

He said that the government hurried itself into freezing resolution 207/2006, when the affected company, Petrobras, had not even rejected the move, beyond isolated protests on behalf of this country that were framed within the electoral process that Brazil is living through. “This was the real reason for my resignation” declared Soliz Rada.

“On the issue of the contracts, the country needs to know what it is that the oil companies are demanding in order to sign new contracts, what the dimensions of the exigencies we will need to confront are” he said on the occasion of the hand over of his office to his successor, Carlos Villegas.

Soliz Rada pointed out that the oil companies are demanding of the government that there be no subvention for the internal market, moreover, they are demanding that gas, diesel, and liquefied gas should be sold to the Bolivians at international prices, without state subvention.

According to the ex head of hydrocarbons, this is one of the attempts to blackmail by the oil transnationals, who are conditioning the signing of new contracts, which according to the Supreme Decree 28701, need to sign before next November 1.

“Another one of the terrible exigencies that they put forward, is the right to record Bolivia’s gas and petroleum reserves as if they were reserves belonging to the companies, the value of these reserves would remain recorded on the New York Stock Exchange” sustained Soliz Rada.

“That is to say, in this fight that we have being giving, we have denounced to the international community that these reserves belong to Bolivia, the oil companies what to record them as theirs in the international market”, protested the ex minister of hydrocarbons

According to Soliz Rada, who rests on a broad memory for help to speak to his successor Carlos Villegas of the reality of the petroleum industry in the country, the transnationals also question the right of YPFB to commercialise petroleum, gas and its derivatives.

“They are also questioning the right to commercialise gas, that is to say, what we are trying to initiate; they say ‘these are our markets’, ‘we have the contacts on the exterior’, ‘you don’t have them’. As a consequence, the oil companies what to carry out their own commercialization” said Soliz.

On the other hand, the ex head of hydrocarbons indicated that beyond these denunciations, the oil companies, who in declarations from their executives say that they accept the nationalization, are in practice, in the negotiations, demonstrating their real intentions and are not demanding an “acceptable contract”.

“When one sees the word acceptable, there is a grand desire to put it [between] inverted commas, because for them acceptable always means the minimum income for Bolivia. Operational freedom” he denounced.

“The other grand issue is that many of them find the nationalization decree to be almost perfect, with a few limitations like the ones I have written down, but they put one condition to saying that the nationalization decree is good, and this condition is that it is not carried out” said Soliz Rada.

If the nationalization decree is not carried out, it is excellent, and this had been the constant struggle, to apply the nationalization decree” he added.

In this context, the background to all this is that the oil companies want the nationalization decree to remain just on paper and that it not be carried out because it would affect their economic interests.

Translated from Bolivian Information Agency

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