LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales confirmed Thursday that Luis Guillermo Acha will stay on as the chief executive of state energy company YPFB, whose previous CEO died two weeks ago after a battle with cancer.
The 33-year-old Acha took the helm of the company on an interim basis when his predecessor, Carlos Villegas, traveled to Chile for an operation that did not yield the expected results and eventually led to his death on Jan. 24 after several days in an induced coma.
Morales made the announcement in a speech, saying that while Villegas was undergoing treatment he had told Acha he wanted him to remain on as the company’s president.
Acha previously served as YPFB’s vice president of operations and the head of its refining unit.
The executive said in a speech that under his leadership YPFB must become a key player in hydrocarbon exploration and continue its industrialization projects “to guarantee energy security for the region’s countries.”
Bolivia exports natural gas to Brazil and Argentina, as well as liquefied petroleum gas to Peru, Paraguay and Uruguay.
But the Andean nation’s natural gas reserves will only last until 2023 at the current rate of consumption unless new discoveries are made, and analysts say the country could experience a production shortfall as soon as 2017.