Bolivia hires Rotterdam port experts to help with LNG study

Jan 20, 2003 01:00 AM

Bolivia's government has hired experts from the Dutch port of Rotterdam to prepare a fourth report on the country's LNG export project, a spokesperson from Bolivia's hydrocarbons ministry confirmed to. This will provide even more transparency for the government when it comes to taking the final decision, the spokesperson explained.
Incorrect press reports that the government has already taken the decision to go through a port in Chile are damaging the transparency not only of the government but also of the third report, currently being compiled by US consulting firm Global Energy Consultants (GEC), the spokesperson explained.

Rotterdam port officials arrive in Bolivia to discuss details of the contract with the government, the spokesperson said, adding that in theory the work will be concluded at around the same time that GEC delivers the third report, expected February 24. The Dutch government will finance the Rotterdam port report, the spokesperson said.
The government already has a report prepared by the previous administration of former President Jorge Quiroga, as well as a study by the Pacific LNG consortium, the spokesperson said. Bolivia has no territorial access to the Pacific Ocean and must choose between ports in Chile and Peru for the location of a plant to liquefy its natural gas for export to North America.

The consortium behind the project, Pacific LNG, has already stated that the port of Caleta Patillos in Chile is the only economically feasible option. But there is strong opposition within Bolivia to a deal with Chile because of a dispute dating back to a war in the 19th century, when Bolivia lost its access to the ocean.
Most Bolivians prefer the only alternative port of Ilo in Peru. The government has previously said President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada will make a final decision in April.

Before that, Pacific LNG is expected to sign a final sale contract with US-based energy company Sempra Energy International, which would build a regasification plant on Mexico's west coast to receive the gas and pipe it to California. "At the end of February the agreement will be signed between Pacific LNG and Sempra Energy and from that point we will take a decision," hydrocarbons minister Fernando Illanes said.
The government will take into consideration the national sentiment, Illanes said. "We will consult all the civic institutions, the most representative organizations, the trade unions and the neighbourhood federations, to make sure the opinion of the Bolivian people is taken into account," Illanes said.

Source: Business News Americas
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