Bolivia’s international reserves reduced 42% since 2014, from $US15,478 million to $US8,946 million, according to the Bolivian Central Bank (BCB). Although the sharp fall, President Evo Morales insisted that the international reserves are still the highest in South America as a percentage of the Gross National Product (GNP). They represent 21.4% of Bolivia’s GNP, against 21.2% in Peru and 17.8% in Brazil.
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Brazil’s national oil agency indicated that gas imports decreased from 33 Mcmd (million cubic metres per day) in 2014 to 26 Mcmd in 2018.
The government signed a contract with the Canadian New Pacific to exploit important silver deposits in Potosí. An initial investment of $US 6 million is estimated, with the aim of producing about 10,000 tons of silver oxide per day.
There are signs of significant gas reserves in geological formation of Huamampampa in the regions of Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca and Tarija, announced the government. Hydrocarbons Minister, Luis Alberto Sánchez, said that after having exceeded the 7,800 meters of drilling there are strong indications of the existence of a “sea of gas”. However, gas analysts warned that at that depth the results of production tests should be expected to determine profitability.
Bolivia negotiates with Paraguay the export of 4 million cubic meters of gas and also studies the possibility of selling to Peru, so that the Bolivian gas markets would increase from two to four, announced the Minister of Hydrocarbons, Luis Alberto Sanchez
Diversify exports, review the exchange rate, lower the fiscal deficit, lower labour costs, reduce the external debt and balance the international reserves, increase productivity and restore confidence in the economic policy are some of the urgent challenges that Bolivia faces in 2019, an electoral year, said several economists consulted by Los Tiempos.
2019 is an electoral year, and it comes with uncertainty for new investments in the hydrocarbons sectors, warn the Bolivian Hydrocarbons and Energy Chamber (CBHE). The organisation said that gas production has reduced since 2014 and there is an urgency to broaden the exploratory frontier, but the political environment will have an impact in 2019.
Bolivia ranks 128 among 161 countries to do business in 2019, according to Forbes. The American publication states that Bolivia is a resource-rich country with strong growth attributed to captive markets for gas exports, Brazil and Argentina. However, it remains one of the least developed countries in the region because of state-directed policies that deter investment.
The firing of two technical experts from the Electoral Supreme Court (TSE) in Bolivia has caused clashes among the electoral judges. TSE’s Vice-president, Antonio Costas, denounced that the firing of the two technicians was decided without consulting him, despite him being the head of the informatics department.
The public and private sector will invest $US950 million to develop Puerto Busch, in Santa Cruz, which will improve Bolivian exports towards the Atlantic Ocean through the Paraguay-Parana Waterway, said the Minister of Government, Carlos Romero. The investment split is expected to be US$ 500 million public sector and US$ 450 million private sector.