El Salvador Readies Hydrocarbons Law Changes

El Salvador's economy ministry will present within 30 days modifications to the hydrocarbons framework law to expand and strengthen the ministry's hydrocarbons and mines department, newspaper El Diario de Hoy reported.

The changes will provide the department with the resources to request updated information on imports from oil companies that operate in the country, minister Yolanda de Gavidia was quoted as saying.

For example, information related to ships that dock at Acajutla port will be made public to increase transparency, she added.

For his part, Salvador Rivas, executive director of El Salvador's oil industry association Asapetrol, said: "The establishment of more controls will contribute to strengthening the market."

Julio Villagran, administrative manager of the country's oil products distributors association (Asociacon de Distribuidores de Productos de Petroleo) echoed Rivas' view, adding that access to this type of data has allowed Guatemala to become competitive in regard to hydrocarbons sales.

However, the minister said the changes will not mean that gasoline or diesel sale prices will be regulated. "The local market price is not regulated, [the changes] do not oblige oil companies and gas stations to transfer increases or decreases to consumers."

The legal framework for the sale of natural gas also will be created this year, said the report, adding that the company Catuco Energy is currently the only one interested in developing this sector.

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