On 24 January, after a siege of severe illness, the President of the Bolivian national oil and gas company Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) Carlos Villegas Quiroga has died aged 61 in the Chilean city of Santiago.
On Monday, January 26 a three-day mourning period was announced in Bolivia in connection with the death of the YPFB head.
The management of Gazprom International, which has partnered with YPFB for several projects in Bolivia, sent its deep condolences to their colleagues, the relatives of the deceased, and those who were near and dear to the deceased.
C. Villegas had headed the national energy company since January 2009. The company website states that under his leadership YPFB doubled its natural gas production to a record breaking 62 million m³/ day, and the company’s net profit grew to $4.6 billion.
Since late December 2014, when C. Villegas was hospitalized, Guillermo Acha Morales, the former vice president of the company in charge of production, has been acting president of YPFB.
Meanwhile, the Bolivian press agency ABI reports that Evo Morales, re-elected as head of the multinational State of Bolivia after winning the presidential election in October of last year, took the oath of office in the country’s parliament and presented his new cabinet of ministers.
Among the 13 heads of ministries appointed by the president is the new head of the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energy Luis Alberto Sanchez Fernández, replacing Juan Jose Sosa, who was heading the energy industry of Bolivia since 2012.
With J. Sosa as minister, the Bolivian fuel and energy industry leapt forward: The ministry’s website states that investment exceeded $8 billion, and government income from the oil and gas sector was $22 billion.
In response to questions from journalists, the new minister, Luis Alberto Sanchez Fernández, who was previously YPFB’s vice president for contract management and supervision, stated that his priorities are to overcome the effects of low oil prices, expand the geological exploration program, and further industrialization of the country’s energy industry.
Bolivia has the 3rd highest production of hydrocarbons in South America. The country extracts over 20 billion m3 of natural gas per year. Most of the resources produced are exported to Brazil (about 33 million m3/day) and Argentina (15 million m3/day). According to the US Energy Information Agency data, Bolivia is a key regional supplier of energy sources.
As of the end of 2013, Bolivia had 10.5 trillion cubic feet (296 billion m3) of proven natural gas reserves and 211.4 million barrels (28 million tonnes) of proven oil and condensate reserves.
YPFB was founded in 1936. In 2006, pursuant to a decree issued by Bolivian President E. Morales, the company took control of all energy assets in the country, including those owned by foreign countries.
Last year, all of the companies in the YPFB Group produced over 22 billion m3 of gas.
OAO Gazprom works with YPFB under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the companies in 2007. According to the document, the partners intend to work jointly for exploration and development of hydrocarbon fields in Bolivia, and review opportunities for a variety of infrastructure projects.
Gazprom International, Gazprom’s global company dedicated to international oil and gas upstream projects outside the Russian Federation, is the Gazprom’s operator in Bolivia. Gazprom International is currently part of the international consortium performing geological exploration in the Ipati, Aquio and Acero license blocks.
Photo: "Nuevo Sur"