Damaged Bolivian Pipelines Should be Operational by the Weekend

The three pipelines in Bolivia's Chaco region that ruptured last week are undergoing testing and should resume operations by Saturday morning, a spokesperson from state oil firm YPFB told BNamericas.

A landslide caused by heavy rains ruptured an oil pipeline and two natural gas pipelines in the Los Monos gorge area on April 2.

The pipelines, operated by local transport company Transredes and Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), ship hydrocarbons from Bolivia's San Alberto and Margarita fields.

The oil pipeline transports crude to refineries in Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, where diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and other fuel derivatives are produced, according to government news service ABI.

The two natural gas pipelines transport gas to Villamontes, from where the gas is redirected to Brazil and Argentina.

Bolivia was forced to cut exports to Brazil to 21 million cubic meters a day (Mm3/d) from 26Mm3/d as a result of the accident, according to a government statement.

Bolivia was also forced to cut gas exports to Argentina 4.5-5Mm3/d, the total amount it exports to that country, to meet contractually agreed upon export levels to Brazil, the statement said.

"Our agreement with Argentina is temporary but with Brazil it is for 20 years. They are different agreements and for that reason we can take the liberty of cutting gas to Argentina," Argentine paper La Nacion quoted YPFB president Jorge Alvarado as saying.

According to the hydrocarbons regulator, the export of gas to Argentina was expected to be restored on April 12, the YPFB spokesperson said.

Bolivian gas cuts to Argentina in turn reduced Argentine gas supplies to power generators in Chile's Norte Grande area on Tuesday, Chilean paper El Mercurio reported.

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