April 19, 2007

The Fight Over Natural Gas

MABB © ®


What is going on in Bolivia? A lot! As you can see.

Conflict over Bolivia natgas field escalates
AlertNet - Apr 19 8:19 AM
Source: Reuters (Refiles April 18 story to correct technical problem) (Updates throughout, adds byline, changes dateline) By David Mercado YACUIBA, Bolivia, April 18 (Reuters) - Protesters demanding a share of
Bolivia Resumes Gas Supply to Argentina After Deadly Clash
Bloomberg.com - Apr 18 9:41 AM
April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Bolivia resumed natural gas transmission to Argentina after soldiers killed a protester while suppressing a riot near a pipeline operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the country's Hydrocarbons Chamber said.
Bolivia to Auction Tin From Seized Glencore Smelter (Update1)
Bloomberg.com - Apr 18 8:55 AM
April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Bolivia plans to sell tin from a plant seized two months ago from Swiss commodity trader Glencore International AG as the metal trades at the highest in at least 18 years.
Conflict over Bolivia natgas field escalates
AlertNet - Apr 18 8:04 PM
Source: Reuters (Updates throughout, adds byline, changes dateline) By David Mercado YACUIBA, Bolivia, April 18 (Reuters) - Protesters demanding a share of taxes from a large Bolivian natural
Demonstrators take police as hostage in Bolivia over gas dispute
People's Daily - Apr 18 7:52 PM
Hundreds of protesters held 40 policemen hostage in southern Bolivia on Wednesday in a dispute over gas field royalties, the state Bolivian News Agency reported.

The gist is, there is a boundary dispute between two provinces within the Tarija department. The two provinces are O'Connor and Gran Chaco (the region where the Chaco War was fought against Paraguay). This piece of land, called Chimeo, holds one of the biggest natural gas camps in that department, the Margarita camp. Apparently, both regions have a claim to the area.

This dispute began in May 2005, when O'Connor filed a petition to the regional government, the Prefecture, to delineate the boundaries. The head of government, the Prefect, sought to remove himself from the problem because of conflicts of interests. The Mayor of Yacuiba, a town in Gran Chaco, was his relative. So, he relayed the problem to his General Secretary. This time, the Gran Chaco province did not feel comfortable with the 'judge' and asked the central government to move the case to another jurisdiction. So, the General Secretary, in view of the problems passed the case to the central government. The government in La Paz refused three times, until recently when the protests in the provinces became more serious. Yesterday, it decided to give in to the demands of Gran Chaco and relay the case to another jurisdiction. That decision promptly provoked protest in O'Connor.

So, in the last few days, there were violent confrontations in the different towns. The most violent, with one death, was in Yacuiba. In the mean time, the gas pipelines to Argentina are in danger to be shut down and the Pocitos and San Antonio camps were taken over.

The graph is from La Razón.