YPFB Takes Control of Oil Companies

Bolivia's state oil company YPFB has taken a controlling interest in the joint venture contracts to which oil companies in the country are now subject, government news agency ABI reported.

YPFB took control of oil firms Chaco and Andina, local transport company Transredes, local refiner Petrobras-Refinacion and logistics unit Compania Logistica de Hidrocarburos after President Evo Morales appointed 25 representatives to company boards.

Four of the seven members of each board will correspond to YPFB. The representatives include armed forces personnel, lawyers and sector specialists.

On May 1, Morales issued a decree nationalizing the country's hydrocarbons resources. Oil companies have 180 days from the date the decree was issued to negotiate new contracts giving the state a minimum 50% take on oil production.

During the negotiation period the state will have 82% participation in large fields that produced more than 100 million cubic feet a day (Mf3/d) of gas during 2005.

Regarding the majority control of the companies' shares, hydrocarbons minister Andres Soliz said this will be resolved with the oil firms during the negotiation process.

"We are in a process of talks with the companies, some of which have their shares on the stock exchange, and an approximate value of their shares can be determined," said Soliz.

"In some cases they are accepting, [but] I cannot go into details of which ones can be paid with natural gas and oil production for a time until the value of those shares are covered."

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