LA PAZ – Bolivia’s government said on Wednesday it will submit a bill to Congress that provides economic rewards to energy companies that take exploration risks.
Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera made the announcement at the inauguration of the 8th International Oil and Gas Congress, organized by the Bolivian Hydrocarbons Chamber.
State-owned and private-sector companies that take exploration risks will be rewarded with higher revenues from fields they discover, Garcia Linera told energy company representatives.
The government has been studying a hydrocarbon exploration incentive plan since 2013, and it is currently under review by different sectors and institutions, the vice president said, stressing the need to implement it “as soon as possible.”
The bill is to be introduced in Congress, both houses of which are controlled by the ruling leftist MAS party, in the coming days.
Bolivian provinces and municipalities, for their part, will become “investors in the exploration process” so they can generate their own funds and improve their revenue and royalty take from hydrocarbon output, Garcia Linera said.
He added that the national government, which has controlled the natural gas and oil industry since it was nationalized in 2006, plans to invest $30 billion to develop the sector through 2025.
The investment program will focus on market diversification, industrialization, incentives for companies and greater promotion of power generation, according to the vice president.
A dozen multinational energy companies currently operate in Bolivia, including Spain’s Repsol, Brazil’s Petrobras, Franco-Belgian TotalFinaElf, British Gas and Anglo-Argentine Pan American Energy.