|World Bank to Disburse $19.5 Million to Bolivia Following Progress in Reform||
The Brazil-Bolivia gas pipeline is the longest pipeline in Latin America. The first segment of the pipeline was inaugurated Feb 9, 1999. The second leg was completed by the end of 1999. The entire project was built at a cost of $2-bil. The money was provided by the Brazilian National Development Bank, the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and private banks.
The pipeline, which runs 3,150 km from Santa
via Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, is operated
by a subsidiary of Brazilian oil company Petrobras, called Gaspetro.
Currently, about 30-mil cu m per day of gas is
via the pipeline. The Bolivian and Brazilian governments approved an
of the pipeline's capacity in December 2001. The increase in capacity,
which is scheduled to go on-line in 2003, will allow Petrobras to
the amount of gas it is transporting through the pipe to 40-mil cu m
and south-west Bolivia
In 1995, scientists found large deposits of natural gas in north and south-west Bolivia.
Due to the country's economic situation, the Bolivian government did not have the resources to dig for oil wells or develop the area. At the same time, president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada was leading the country through a de- nationalization reform and encouraging foreign investment in previously national companies. Therefore, the president's next step was to add the national oil company, Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos' (YPFB), to its list of privatizations.
In mid-1994, U.S. based Enron Corporation won
to develop Bolivia's gas resources by constructing, financing, and
investing and operating a pipeline.
The Bolivian gas endeavor began with
with Argentina. However, in January of 1996, the Paraguayan and
presidents signed an agreement proposing a new pipeline and natural gas
trading agreement. Plans for constructing another pipeline to Chile
also been in the making, but have been difficult. However, the
project is by far the most lucrative agreement, and has contributed to
a grandiose new scheme taken on by Enron of creating one continental
grid, with Bolivia as the natural gas hub supplying neighboring
Currently, Bolivia has 7.2 trillion cubic feet in natural gas reserves, a number expected to rise sharply once unexplored areas are tapped. Estimations for the length and width of the Bolivia- Brazil pipeline are 2,100 miles and 36 inches. The Bolivian government owns 60% of the pipeline within its borders and 20% within Brazil. The consortium of financiers; PETROBRAS (Brazilian Petroleum), the BTB consortium (British Gas, Tenneco Gas, and Australia's BHP Petroleum), and YPFB in conjunction with U.S. partners Enron and Shell, will be financing a project worth roughly US $2 billion. Of these, Enron will be primarily in charge of construction. The company hopes to break ground in the first half of 1997 and to finish by 1999.
Rio Grande (the region where the pipeline will originate) is located in the department of Santa Cruz, near the cities of Santa Cruz, Warnes, General Saavedra, and Montero. This region lies in the "Oriente", or eastern section of Bolivia closest to Brazil and Paraguay. The area's physical geography consists of subtropical forests and part of one of the world's largest remaining natural wetlands, the Pantanal, which extends into the north-west of Paraguay and the Mato Grosso region of Brazil. This fragile ecosystem is already being encroached upon by an advancing agricultural frontier resulting in overgrazing, deforestation of subtropical areas, pesticide pollution, and soil erosion. In addition, poachers have been wiping out large quantities of predator species, such as caiman, fox, jaguar, wolf and alligator, imbalancing the ecosystem. Although Sanchez de Lozada has proclaimed his firm commitment to sustainable development, the government has not made any concrete moves in this direction.
According to current forecasts, Bolivian gas would be transported from Bolivia's Rio Grande to Porto Alegre, Brazil, passing through Puerto Suarez and the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Sao Paulo, Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul, with possibilities of extending up to Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais. Such a path would undoubtedly cross unprotected and undeveloped land in Bolivia, no doubt the most economically disadvantaged party in this entire scheme and therefore the most vulnerable to exploitation by member countries.
World Bank To Maintain Support To Help Bolivia
WASHINGTON, February 19, 2003 - A delegation of the Government of Bolivia, comprising Foreign Affairs Minister Carlos Saavedra Bruno; Jose Guillermo Justiniano, Minister of Sustainable Development and Planning; and Roberto Camacho, Vice-Minister for Public Investment and External Financing, briefed the Bank's management Friday, February 14, on Bolivia's latest political and economic developments.
The ministers provided details of the tragic incidents in La Paz last week, and outlined the most recent economic and financial measures taken by the authorities to consolidate macroeconomic stability and foster restored growth.
World Bank officials stated the
readiness to continue working with the administration of President
Sanchez de Lozada and to maintain substantial financial and
support for Bolivia within the framework of a comprehensive strategy,
the overall objective of overcoming the current difficulties and
the quality of life of all Bolivians.