LA PAZ – The value of Bolivia’s fuel imports rose 101.5 percent between January and May of this year relative to those same months of 2009, the INE national statistics’ office said Thursday.
The cost of Bolivian purchases of fuels and lubricants amounted to $288.5 million during the first five months of 2010, compared with $143.1 million the same period of last year.
Despite holding Latin America’s second-largest natural gas reserves, Bolivia has imported liquefied petroleum gas – used in heating appliances and vehicles – since the middle of last year to avoid shortages of that fuel in the winter months.
Bolivia also is facing a shortfall in diesel production and must purchase supplies of that fuel from Venezuela to cover roughly half of domestic demand, while in 2008 the country began importing gasoline from Chile.
According to statistics from the Hydrocarbons Ministry, Bolivia imported a monthly average of 3,933 cubic meters (138,620 cubic feet) of diesel and 4,310 cubic meters of gasoline during the first five months of 2010.
The report highlighted the growing trend in gasoline purchases, which rose 372 percent from 1,625 cubic meters in January to 7,676 cubic meters in May. EFE