Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) plans to invest 53% of its total 2024 investment budget on hydrocarbon exploration projects, the Bolivian state-owned company said.
The oil company's total investment will be 277 million USD. Of that, 159 million USD will be allocated to 22 exploration projects to reverse the curve of decline in natural gas production that began in 2015, said YPFB planning manager, Danny Roca, in a release. The Jan. 17 release followed a press conference to counter speculation that the company faced an economic crisis.
Roca said that the oil revenue collected in the last 3 years is above previous government administrations and that the company continues “with positive indicators, with positive profits” that allow the company to “make investments and contribute” to the payment of the social assistance bonds created by authorities.
YPFB is developing an upstream reactivation plan that includes 42 exploratory projects in various regions to increase hydrocarbon production.
Bolivia's gas market settled on exports to Brazil and Argentina, but the decline of its fields forced the country to renegotiate firm contracts for less than the promised amounts.
Natural gas production fell to 31.9 million cu m/d (MMcmd) in 2023, reaching an income of 2,048 million USD from 56.6 MMcmd in 2016 with an oil income of 1,755 million USD, according to data released by the company in December 2023.
Citing data from Gas Energy Latin America, managing partner Alvaro Ríos Roca said "the average production of natural gas in Bolivia in 2022 was 41 MMcmd, generating export revenues of 2,770 million [USD]. In comparison, in 2023, the average production was 35.9 MMcmd, and export revenues amounted to 2,112 million [USD]. There is a significant decline in production, but also, in 2022, export prices rose significantly, mainly in exports to Argentina due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine," he said, noting "the winter price to Argentina was approximately 100% higher than prices to Brazil due to the fine that had to be paid for contractual problems."