Petrobras-Bolivia YPFB handshake to normalize gas exports to Brazil

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Amuay refinery, in Bolivia. Photo: WikiCommons

Bolivian state-owned oil and gas company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) has reached an agreement with Brazilian firm Petrobras that will allow both sides to renegotiate contract terms and resume regular exports of Bolivian gas to Brazil. 

Since May, YPFB has reduced its daily gas payloads to Brazil by 30 percent, demanding higher payments. 

Now, after drawn-out negotiations, Petrobras agreed not just to drop threats of sanctions against the Bolivian company, but also to pay more for the previously agreed volume of 20 million cubic meters of gas per day. 

During recent export reductions, YPFB had been largely selling its gas surplus to Argentina at a more favorable rate. 

In a statement, YPFB chair Armin Dorgathen highlighted an expected boost in the company’s revenues and what he called a “more flexible” agreement that will offer “safer conditions” to both countries. 

Petroleum gas is Bolivia’s biggest export, behind gold, zinc, and precious metal ores. Amounting to USD 2.02 billion in sales in 2020, the lion’s share ended up in Brazil. Over 43 percent of petroleum gas imported by Brazil came from Bolivia.