Morales Pledges to Complete Hydrocarbons Nationalization by July

Bolivia's President Evo Morales has announced the nationalization of hydrocarbons and other natural resources will be completed by July 12, an administration spokesperson told BNamericas, confirming local media reports.

"These natural resources should be very well taken advantage of by the region and the nation. They are a natural resource that gives hope to the Bolivian people, that gives hope to the most abandoned exploited sectors," local papers quoted him as saying.

July 12 is the 71st anniversary of the foundation of Santa Cruz department city Camiri, the first site of oil production in the country.

The nationalization of Bolivia's hydrocarbons reserves involves the renegotiation of contracts with each of the companies active in the country so as to create partnerships with state oil company YPFB, YPFB spokesperson Edwin Miranda told BNamericas.

YPFB has made progress in the renegotiations with each of the companies and believes it is feasible the state oil firm could complete the process by July 12, the spokesperson said.

Although none of the companies has expressed its desire to withdraw from Bolivia, there is a chance that certain companies might not wish to renegotiate contracts and will be forced to halt operations, the official added.

The hydrocarbons law passed in May last year requires foreign companies to sign new E&P contracts that include a combined tax and royalty rate of 50% on oil and gas production.

The leftist Morales administration, which came to power in January, will also present its national development plan including its plans for hydrocarbons on April 22, papers reported.

According to the reports, there are "around 12" oil and gas companies operating in Bolivia including Spanish major Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP), Brazil's federal power company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), French oil and gas group Total (NYSE: TOT) and UK firm BG Group (NYSE: BG).

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