Bolivia completes nationalization of oil and gas sector

LA PAZ, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Bolivia's state-owned oil giant YPFB announced on Tuesday it has completed nationalization of the country's oil and gas sector.

YPBF, abbreviation for Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos in Spanish, acquired a natural gas supplier in Cochabamba, a step concluding its nationalization efforts in the country's hydrocarbon industry.

"At this moment facilities like the oil and gas pipelines, including those under construction, are completely the property of the Bolivian state," YPFB interim president Carlos Villegas said.

"The state is now the owner of domestic hydrocarbon resources under and above the ground," Villegas said.

The state has also taken full control of the hydrocarbon storage capacity by nationalizing the Guillermo Elder Bell Refinery in Santa Cruz and the Gualberto Villarroel Refinery in Cochabamba.

"The nationalization process has allowed YPFB to regain control of the domestic oil and gas sector," Villegas said. He said the company's management of this sector will contribute to state revenues and the welfare of the Bolivian people.

YPFB was created in 1936 as a state owned and run gasoline company. It underwent partial privatization under the presidency of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada in the 1990s.

The Bolivian government also announced a plan on Tuesday to invest 5 billion U.S. dollars over the next five years in oil and gas explorations, operations and distribution.

Bolivia has the second largest reserves of natural gas in Latin America after Venezuela.

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