Brazil’s Petrobras Denies that It Is Operating Illegally in Bolivia

    A note from Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras repudiates declarations by the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, in which he declared that the company was operating illegally in Bolivia.

    Petrobras declared that it was surprised by the accusations because it has always operated strictly within the law in every country where it is present.

    Petrobras said that its presence in Bolivia was the result of a series of bilateral agreements between the governments of Brazil and Bolivia.

    "The bilateral agreements we have made it possible to build the Bolivia-Brazil gas pipeline and to operate in that country’s largest natural gas fields at San Alberto and San Antonio. Some of this was done in partnership with YPFB, before the Bolivian state-run oil company was privatized," said the note.

    The note concludes by pointing out that Petrobras has been buying gas from Bolivia since 1999 and that its operations are responsible for more than 20% of the Bolivian government’s total tax revenue.

    Meanwhile, in La Paz, a meeting of the Brazilian minister of Mines and Energy, Silas Rondeau, the president of Petrobras, José Sérgio Gabrielli, and the Bolivian minister of Hydrocarbons, André Soliz Rada. was taking place to reach a negotiated agreement on the situation created following the May 1 announcement of Bolivia’s nationalization of its gas and oil reserves.

    Safe from Expropriation

    Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, testifying before the Senate Foreign Affairs Commission, declared that productive land, with proper documentation, owned by Brazilians in Bolivia should not be expropriated as part of that country’s recently announced land reform. The land reform comes on the heels of the nationalization of Bolivia’s gas and oil reserves on May 1.

    "Brazilian farmers are not unproductive and if they have their documents in order, they should not have any problems," said Amorim, pointing out that 60% of the soy exported by Bolivia is grown by Brazilians. However, the minister went on to say that in the case of land occupied by Brazilians without proper documentation the situation is "undefined."

    Agência Brasil

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